Man (31) charged with murder of Ashling Murphy in Tullamore

Large crowd gathers outside Tullamore District Court for special night sitting

Jozef Puska, 31, of Lynally Grove, Tullamore, Co Offaly, was heckled during a special sitting of Tullamore District Court. Video: PA/Reuters

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A man was in custody last night charged with the murder of Ashling Murphy (23) just outside Tullamore, Co Offaly, last Wednesday. The accused man, 31-year-old Jozef Puska, appeared before a special sitting of Tullamore District Court.

Det Sgt David Scahill gave evidence of the arrest, charge and caution and said Mr Puska replied “No” when the charge was put to him at 7.45pm. Insp Kieran Keyes applied to Judge Catherine Staines for a remand in custody, in Cloverhill Prison, Dublin, to a sitting of Cloverhill District Court next Wednesday, January 26th.

The accused man, wearing a grey hoodie and trousers, was assisted by a Slovakian interpreter in court. Legal aid was granted when the court was told Mr Puska, of Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, Co Offaly, was on a disability payment of €200 per week. Eoin Lysaght was assigned as his solicitor.

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Jozef Puska appeared before a special sitting of Tullamore District Court on Wednesday night. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Jozef Puska appeared before a special sitting of Tullamore District Court on Wednesday night. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Shouted

Some members of a crowd estimated at 300 people shouted and jeered as Mr Puska was led into court for a 8.15pm sitting and when he was taken away.

Ms Murphy, a Durrow National School teacher, was fatally attacked last Wednesday at about 4pm. She was running on the Grand Canal tow path near Digby Bridge, Cappincur when she was attacked.

As her funeral was under way on Tuesday, Mr Puska was arrested after being discharged from a Dublin hospital where he had been treated for injuries since last Thursday night.

He was arrested under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act on Tuesday morning and taken to Tullamore Garda station. Detectives were permitted to question him for up to 24 hours without charge, with a statement from the Garda on Tuesday confirming he was being questioned “on suspicion of murder”.