31-year-old man charged with the murder of teacher Ashling Murphy

·2-min read
Photo credit: Murphy family
Photo credit: Murphy family

A 31-year-old man has been charged with the murder of 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, who was killed whilst out on a jog in Count Offaly last week. Jozef Puska, who is believed to be a Slovakian national, has since been remanded in custody after being charged with the murder of the teacher on Wednesday evening (19 January).

Last night, the suspect was taken to Tullamore District Court where Detective Sergeant David Scahill gave evidence of the arrest and charge. Speaking of the moment the suspect was charged with the offence, Det Sgt Scahill told the court he had simply replied: "No."

At the hearing, Puska's defence solicitor Eoin Lysaght made an application for legal aid and requested the services of an interpreter for any future court appearances. Meanwhile, members of Murphy's family held up framed photos of the 23-year-old.

Since then, videos have emerged on social media which show Puska being heckled by members of the public as he entered and left the courthouse. The case has gained nationwide attention, and a large crowd gathered outside the courthouse as the suspect was taken away by Gardai (Irish Police). As Puska was driven away in a police van, some members of the public could be seen chasing the van down the road.

Prior to the arrest of Puska, a 40-year-old man who was arrested in connection with the death of the teacher was released, with police saying he was no longer being treated as a suspect.

Speaking about the arrest and release of the 40-year-old man, a spokesperson told the media: "The male who was arrested and detained by An Garda Siochana investigating this fatal assault has now been released from this detention. This male has been eliminated from Garda inquiries and is no longer a suspect."

23-year-old Murphy tragically died following an attack last week, with the Gardai saying that her injuries were "consistent with an assault". Sadly, after receiving medical attention following the attack, Murphy died at the scene. A team of 50 Garda were assigned to the case, and vowed to leave "no stone unturned" in the search for answers.

District Judge Catherine Staines remanded Puska in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court on 26 January.

Our thoughts remain with Ashling Murphy's family and friends at this heartbreaking time.

If you're feeling burnt out by the news cycle, here's how to cope. To join the fight on violence against women and to learn more about the organisations on the frontline, see here.

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