Five people known to Ashling Murphy's killer Jozef Puska were told they will face trial for obstruction charges during a brief hearing at Tullamore District Court in Co Offaly today, Wednesday, December 20.

Jozef Puska’s brothers Marek, 34, and Lubomir, 35, as well as Puska’s partner Lucia Istokova, 34, were charged in June with withholding information relating to the murder investigation on a date unknown between January 12 and January 27, 2022 at Tullamore garda station. The offense is contrary to Section 9 of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998.

Marek Puska’s partner Jozefina Grundzova, 33, and Lubomir Puska’s partner Viera Gazoiva, 38, were also charged in June with impeding the apprehension or prosecution of an alleged offender relating to the murder of Ashling Murphy. The offense allegedly occurred on a date unknown between January 12 and 14, 2022 at a location in Tullamore and is contrary to Section 7(2) and (4) of the Criminal Law Act, 1997.

In June, the court imposed reporting restrictions on publishing the addresses of the five accused, who were provided legal aid and interpreters.

Judge Michele Finan remanded the five accused on bail with a number of conditions including that they all surrender their passports, they reside at the addresses provided to the court, and notify gardai of any change. 

The five appeared before Judge Andrew Cody at Tullamore District Court in Co Offaly today, December 20, for the brief hearing, the Irish Independent reports.

Books of evidence were served on them on Wednesday and they were sent forward for trial at the Central Criminal Court under applications made by Garda Stacey O’Brien.

According to RTÉ News, Judge Cody was told that the Director of Public Prosecutions had consented to all five being sent forward for trial at the next sitting of the Central Criminal Court.

Judge Cody approved applications from solicitor David Powder for legal aid and continuation of bail conditions, as well as that a previous restriction on reporting the addresses of the five accused be continued.

Judge Cody also issued alibi warnings to the five accused, telling them that they must notify the prosecution within 14 days should they intend to call alibi witnesses when their cases go to trial.

The new round of charges related to the investigation into the murder of Ashling Murphy comes less than two months after Jozef Puska was found guilty of murdering the 23-year-old teacher in Tullamore, Co Offaly on January 12, 2022.

The murder of Ashling Murphy caused outrage not only in Ireland but throughout the global Irish community

Puska, with an address listed as Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, Co Offaly, was arrested on January 18, 2022, and was charged on the following day, the day of Murphy's funeral in Co Offaly.

Puska was sent forward for trial to the Central Criminal Court on April 6, 2022, after being served with a book of evidence. Later that month, Justice Paul McDermott set a trial date of June 6, 2023, which was later postponed until October.

Puska was granted free legal aid, including representation of junior and senior counsel at the trial.

Puska was accused of stabbing Murphy 11 times in the neck as she jogged along a stretch of the Grand Canal near Tullamore in Co Offaly in broad daylight. He. pleaded not guilty and claimed he had been trying to help the schoolteacher after she had been stabbed by another man.

After a jury found him guilty on November 9, Puska received a life sentence on November 17.