The family of Ashling Murphy, the 23-year-old woman who was murdered in Tullamore, Co Offaly on January 12, 2022, has issued a statement after Jozef Puska was found guilty of the murder on Thursday, November 9.
Ryan Casey, Ashling's boyfriend, and Cathal Murphy, Ashling's brother, read a statement outside Dublin's Central Criminal Court on behalf of the Murphy family on Thursday after the verdict was handed down.
Ryan said he and the Murphy family "would like to take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to all of our family, friends, and community for their unwavering support since our Ashling was stolen from us 22 months ago, on January 12th 2022.
“From day one, the outpouring of love and support was felt in abundance from the Irish people both on a national and international level as they stood in solidarity with our family to both mourn the loss of our beautiful and talented Ashling and to condemn gender-based brutality with visceral repulsion.
“Ashling was a vibrant, intelligent, and highly motivated young woman who embodied so many of the great traits and qualities of the Irish people and its communities.
"Her life had a huge impact on so many of those around her and she was the epitome of a perfect role model for every little girl to look up to and strive to be.
"She was not only an integral part of our family but she was also a huge shining light in our community, a community in which, year in year out, she gave back to as best she could."
Ryan went on to express his and the Murphy family's gratitude to An Garda Síochana, the prosecution legal team, Justice Hunt, as well as the family liaison officers.
Ashling's brother Cathal continued the statement, saying: “We would like to also thank the members of the jury for reaching this verdict. Sitting through the harrowing evidence of this trial was not an easy task and we’ll be forever grateful for their patience and resilience throughout this incredibly difficult process.
“Ashling was subject to incomprehensible violence by a predator who was not known to her.
"While we do not glory in any conviction, we recognize the importance of holding accountable those who would commit such terrible atrocities.
"The judicial process cannot bring our darling Ashling back, nor can it heal our wounds, but we are relieved that this verdict delivers justice.
"It is simply imperative that this vicious monster can never harm another woman again.
“While we respect the role of the media in providing accurate updates and information for the public, we are asking here now that all media outlets, please, please respect our privacy at this time as we continue to process and grieve the loss of our darling Ashling.”
The murder of Ashling Murphy
Ashling Murphy, 23, was fatally attacked while she was out for a jog along the canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly at around 4 pm on January 12, 2022.
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, who pleaded not guilty, was granted free legal aid, including representation of junior and senior counsel at the trial.
After being found guilty on November 9, Puska faces a mandatory life sentence. Sentencing is due to begin November 17 and Justice Hunt said he will hear victim impact statements from the Murphy family.