Jozef PuskaJozef Puska

Jozef Puska Wiki- Jozef Puska Biography

Jozef Puska was prosecuted for underage sex in his native Slovakia but had no convictions in Ireland until he brutally murdered Ashling Murphy, MailOnline can reveal today.

Puska, 33, was on benefits and lived in a five-bedroom council house in Mucklagh, County Offaly, with his wife and five children, until he carried out the heinous crime in January 2022.

Despite being unable to work because of his bad back, the ‘monster’ was filmed stalking up to four women while cycling in the hours and minutes before he stabbed the talented musician 11 times in the neck in Tullamore.

Originally from Lucivna, a tiny village of fewer than 1,000 residents, in the north of Slovakia close to its ski resorts, killer Puska is of Romanian gypsy descent. After spending time in Prague in the Czech Republic, he arrived in Dublin in 2013, aged 23, with his wife, two young children and other members of his extended family, who had been in court to support him during the trial. Puska and his wife would go on to have two more children in County Offaly.

Neighbors told the Mail he was a noisy ‘b*****d’, dumping rubbish in the garden that attracted rats and had ‘people coming and going at all hours’.

Despite having a spouse, Puska was a member of multiple dating sites. Police sources in Ireland know that he was trying to meet women before he murdered primary school teacher Ashling, who had gone for a run when he attacked her.

He had no previous convictions in Ireland, where he had lived since 2013. Police have unearthed no evidence of links to other crimes. But as a teenager he was arrested by police for having underage sex, while he was also underage. The age of consent in Slovakia is 15 and he was given probation.

Neighbors of his in Mucklagh said his family ‘had no respect’ for their Irish taxpayer-funded home, which was situated in a well-kept cul-de-sac.

One elderly resident told the Mail: ‘I’d be very happy if I never hear that b*****d’s name ever again. I remember the mess that was in the front of the house, bags of rubbish everywhere. There were always people coming and going at all hours. There was noise. There were problems with rats and everything.’

Although Puska had previously been employed on building sites, the family lived off the £166-a-week disability benefit he received after slipping a disc in his back in a work accident.

He told the police that he took painkillers and struggled because he could no longer play sport or run. But he was able to cycle around stalking women on the day he killed poor Ashling.

Shortly before the murder he managed to secure a five-bedroom council house in nearby Mucklagh.

He later confessed to police in hospital that he killed Ashling. He said: ‘I don’t want anything to happen to my family. Nothing bad to them.

‘I love my children. They love me. We understand each other’.

He also feared Ashling’s family would hurt them for what he did – but the police said that the Murphy family were good people.

Puska, 33, had vowed to kill himself as the successful prosecution case against him closed but he was thwarted by prison officers, it can be reported for the first time today.

His trial was delayed after he threatened to take his own life from behind bars in Dublin’s Cloverhill Prison last Tuesday – a fact hidden from the jury who convicted him yesterday after less than two hours of deliberations.

CCTV of Puska showed him cycling through Tullamore, stalking women and playing with something in his pocket, on the afternoon of January 12, 2022. The timings of the footage, and data from Ashling’s Fitbit smartwatch, helped placed him at the Grand Canal in Tullamore. when she was murdered.

Ashling’s mother Kathleen held a framed picture of her daughter aloft and called her killer a ‘monster’ after Puska was found guilty at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin yesterday. He will be sentenced to life in prison next Friday.

Judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt said Puska would face his ‘day of reckoning’ for stabbing 23-year-old teacher Ms Murphy to death in a case that shocked Ireland and the world.

Ashling suffered 11 stab wounds at the hands of Puska, 33, who had left his home in Mucklagh, County Offaly. But the court heard that he had followed other women – including one who may have been the last person to see Ashling alive.

One woman he followed was unaware he was there – and he was playing with something in his pocket.

CCTV tracked the unemployed Slovakian on his three mile bike ride into Tullamore on January 12, 2022.

At 1.38pm, on the Church Road, he began to cycle slowly behind a woman in a maroon jacket, Beata Borowska. She was utterly unaware of his presence, as he pedaled behind her along a series of pavements and across a car park, one hand in his pocket, peeling away only when she entered the Tesco store six minutes later.

After she went into the store, Puska traversed the car park and made his way back towards Tullamore. Detective Garda David Harney said: ‘You see the bike pulling up. He is reaching into his pockets with both hands … there appears to be something in his hands. That item is ultimately returned to his pocket.

At 1.57pm, he was again apparently stalking a woman, this time primary school teacher Anne-Marie Kelly. Further clips showed Puska cycling behind Ms Kelly as she walked swiftly with her dog along the path towards Tullamore. Ms Kelly told the court that she was well aware of his presence and was scared by him.

‘I felt someone was very close and I turned around and looked and there was a man cycling a bike very slowly behind me, and he was staring directly at me,’ she said.

She said he continued staring in an intimidating way as he finally passed and cycled away. She said he had distinctive black eyes and eyebrows and appeared foreign.

Ms Kelly said she continued her walk towards the canal and that she had gone to the side of the canal which did not have a tarmac path, only to encounter Puska again. ‘I let my dog off the lead and I noticed him standing to the left of me,’ she said. ‘I made a quick decision, and probably a foolish one, that he would not be able to bring his bike down the grassy part of the canal. I was nervous of the man, but I decided it was too mucky to cycle the bike down that side. I continued to walk down the grassy side of the canal and I noticed he was behind me, walking quite fast then with the bike.’

She said he was only a few meters behind her and had closed the gap to just one foot by the time they passed a man she took to be a farmer, with a van. She said she greeted the farmer and stopped 50m further on, either to tie her shoelace or call her dog.

Puska passed her and then walked very, very slowly ahead, she said. ‘I had to make a decision,’ she continued. ‘I did not want any more awkward encounters. ‘

She ran on to Digby Bridge. ‘I did not see him after that,’ she said.

Ms Kelly became visibly emotional as she described how the last person she saw and chatted to while she was walking home was a young, ‘very friendly’ woman in her 20s, who matched Ashling Murphy’s description.

‘I saw a lovely, friendly girl, younger than me, in a peachy colored hat. I said “Hello” and she asked me about my dog,’ she said. She that was the last person I met ‘.

Because of the Fitbit smartwatch Ashling was wearing, detectives were able to pinpoint the exact timing of the vivacious young woman’s last moments, as she lay bleeding to death on a canal towpath after being stabbed 11 times in the neck.

At 3.21pm her heartbeat suddenly dropped. By 3.31pm it had stopped altogether. She died alone in a muddy, bramble-strewn ditch before paramedics could arrive to save her.

Puska, 33, an unemployed Slovakian immigrant and father of five, bowed his head and looked distressed when the guilty verdict was translated to him by an interpreter.

He placed his hands in front of his face in a praying position, looking towards his family at the back of the court, before he was taken away by prison officers.

Judge Hunt told the courtroom: ‘There is evil in this room, without a doubt.’ To the jury, he added: ‘Quite literally, you made sure that nobody got away with murder’.

Ms Murphy’s sister Amy, brother Cathal and her boyfriend Ryan Casey breathed sighs of relief, and the jurors – some of whom were weeping – were given a round of applause as they left the courtroom.

Outside the court, Ms Murphy’s brother and boyfriend said she was ‘stolen’ from them by a ‘vicious monster’ who must never be allowed to harm another woman.

Cathal Murphy said: ‘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.’

He said the family would be forever grateful for the jurors’ patience and resilience during a difficult process.

Mr Casey added: ‘From day one, the outpouring of love and support was felt in abundance.

‘The Irish people, both at a national and international level, stood in solidarity with our family in mourning the loss of our beautiful and talented Ashling, and to condemn the gender-based brutality with visceral revulsion.

‘Ashling was a vibrant, intelligent and highly motivated young woman, who embodied so many great traits and qualities of the Irish people and their 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.’

Puska’s family appeared upset and angry at the verdict. His father spoke loudly in Slovakian, while an elderly woman held up a small cross and shook it at people, saying: ‘Everyone in this room, Jesus.’

Judge Hunt said he will sentence Puska on November 17.

Puska had denied killing Ms Murphy as she walked along the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly, on January 12 last year.

He told the court that he was stabbed by a masked stranger, who then turned his knife on Ms Murphy when she walked past on the towpath. Police and a translator told the court that Puska confessed to killing Ms Murphy while he was in hospital.

‘I did it. I murdered I am the murderer, ‘he said, before saying that he was sorry, and he had not intended to.

Ireland’s justice minister Helen McEntee paid tribute to Ms Murphy’s family.

She said: ‘None of us can comprehend the grief and loss they carry every day. Their beautiful daughter, sister and friend, a young woman with so much to offer the world, was taken from them.

‘Ashling’s murder shocked us all. It moved us to action, demanding an end to violence against women.’

Women’s Aid also welcomed Puska’s conviction, saying the killing ‘sent a shockwave’ through communities in Ireland.

‘That this could happen tapped into a visceral feeling that so many girls and women are socialized to feel – that the risk of male violence is everywhere. That nowhere is safe.

‘The murder of Ashling Murphy was a shocking example of dangers posed to women and the case put a spotlight on the inherent risk of male violence in society.

‘Every woman should have the right to be safe, both in their own homes and in their communities.’

Judge Hunt thanked the jury for their service to the community.

He said that despite his many years in the courts, he had not found the case easy to listen to, even though legally he described it as an ‘utterly straightforward’ matter.

‘Thank you for your hard work in this difficult and upsetting case,’ he said.

The judge exempted the jurors from further court duties for 20 years.

Ten minutes was all it took for Ashling Murphy’s life to ebb away. Ten minutes to Rob the 23-year-old primary school teacher of her future and change the lives of her parents, siblings and boyfriend forever.

Because of the Fitbit smartwatch she was wearing, detectives were able to pinpoint the exact timing of the vivacious young woman’s last moments, as she lay bleeding to death on a canal towpath after being stabbed 11 times in the neck.

Jozef Puska Age

Jozef Puska Age is 33 years old.

Who murdered Ashling Murphy was prosecuted for underage sex in Slovakia

At 3.21pm her heartbeat suddenly dropped. By 3.31pm it had stopped altogether. She died alone in a muddy, bramble-strewn ditch before paramedics could arrive to save her.

Ashling’s senseless and brutal murder sent shockwaves, not only through the small town of Tullamore, 60 miles west of Dublin, where she was killed, but across Ireland and beyond.

Her mother Kathleen said: ‘she had so much to give to the world.’ After her death on January 12, 2022, the six-year-old pupils she taught at Naomh Colmcille Primary School in nearby Durrow, County Offaly, made a shrine to her in their classroom.

It included a cross, a candle and handmade cards with drawings, prayers and heartbreaking tributes saying: ‘I love you Miss Murphy.’

Ashling’s class of 28 children also formed a guard of honor at her funeral, each holding a photograph of their teacher on her graduation day, along with a single red rose.

Those closest to her were naturally devastated, but hundreds of thousands of others also attended vigils in Dublin, Limerick, Cork and other towns across the country in solidarity against such a barbaric crime.

Coming in the wake of the brutal killings of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa in London in 2021, campaigners said it was a ‘watershed moment’ for violence against women.

They lamented how a young teacher, just ten months into her career, who dreamed of building her own home with her boyfriend of six years, Ryan Casey, 25, could be so brutally murdered in broad daylight while exercising on a busy canal towpath

Poignantly, the stretch where Ashling was killed is named Fiona’s Way after another young woman, Fiona Pender, who was 25 and pregnant with her first child when she went missing from Tullamore in 1996 and is presumed murdered.

Yesterday, Ashling’s attacker, Jozef Puska, an unemployed Slovakian immigrant who had come to Ireland with his family a decade earlier, was convicted of her murder at Dublin Central Criminal Court. The jury of nine men and three women took just over two hours to reach their unanimous verdict.

Speaking after the verdict yesterday, Ashling’s brother Cathal said his younger sister had been subjected to ‘incomprehensible’ violence by Puska, whom he described as a ‘vicious monster’.

‘The judicial process cannot bring our darling Ashling back, nor can it heal our wounds, but we are relieved that this verdict delivers justice,’ he said. ‘It is simply imperative that this vicious monster can never harm another woman again.’

Mr Casey, who previously described Ashling as his ‘soulmate,’ said: ‘Ashling was a vibrant, intelligent and highly motivated woman. 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.’

Puska, 33, is likely to receive a hefty minimum term when he is sentenced to life in jail next week. Trial judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt, who described Puska as ‘evil’, is unlikely to look favorably on the fact that he refused to admit what he had done. By pleading not guilty, he forced Ashling’s relatives to listen to harrowing details of how she fought in vain to stay alive.

How she was unable to scream for help because she had been stabbed in the neck so violently and repeatedly that her voice box was sliced in two, and how witnesses saw her desperately ‘scissor-kicking’ her legs to try to break free as he pinned every down.

Not only was Puska’s DNA later discovered under Ashling’s fingernails and his fingerprints found on a mountain bike abandoned at the scene, when detectives questioned him two days later he told them: ‘I did it. I murdered I am the murderer.’

‘When she passed [me] I cut her, I cut her neck,’ he told detectives from the Gardai. ‘She panic, I panic. . . and then it happened.’

Puska later retracted this confession, suggesting it had been made when he was drugged up on painkillers in hospital, after inflicting stab wounds on himself. Instead he concocted a ‘contemptible’ tissue of lies, claiming a strange man had stabbed him in the stomach on the towpath before knifing Ashling.

Witnesses saw him crouching over her because he was being a Good Samaritan, trying to help stem the bleeding when the mystery attacker ran away, he claimed.

Yesterday, the jury concluded that there was no mystery man and Puska was, in fact, the stranger responsible for Ashling’s terrible murder.

So exactly how did Ashling’s world come to collide so devastatingly with Puska’s on that cold but sunny afternoon?

The court was told that January 12 was a Wednesday and Ashling had said goodbye to her parents, with whom she still lived, like she did every day before she left for work. ‘The last thing she’d say in the morning going out was’ Mam, I love you,’ Mrs Murphy said after her death.

The youngest of Mrs Murphy and her husband Ray’s three children, Ashling had qualified the previous year and began her first teaching job at a primary school in Durrow, in March 2021.

On the day of her murder, she finished lessons just after 2.30pm and drove her little red Seat car the 37 miles towards her home, in the small village of Blue Ball, stopping off in Tullamore to go power walking beside the Grand Canal, a popular route for joggers and dog walkers.

The jury was told she had been given the Fitbit watch the previous November and made it her New Year’s resolution to exercise every day after work.

As well as being an award-winning fiddle player, who played with the Irish national folk orchestra, Ashling was a talented sportswoman and represented her local club in the Irish ballsport of camogie.

Data from the Fitbit device later revealed that she had walked briskly along the towpath for a mile when she decided to turn back. But soon after this she encountered Puska.

Unbeknown to Ashling, the father of five had spent the previous four hours touring Tullamore on his mountain bike looking for a victim.

Detectives trawled more than 25,000 hours of CCTV and caught him riding closely behind or ‘stalking’ at least two women, the prosecution said. One of those he followed through the town and on to the canal towpath, around 90 minutes before attacking Ashling, was another primary school teacher named Anne-Marie Kelly.

She told the jury his behavior was intimidating and unsettling: ‘I felt someone was very close, and I turned around and looked and there was a man cycling a bike very slowly behind me, and he was staring directly at me. I stopped to let him pass, but he wouldn’t pass.
‘So I continued to walk but I felt very uncomfortable. I decided that before the path narrowed I would stop, and just look at my phone so he would have to pass me.

‘He did pass me and as he passed it was in really, really slow motion.’

After running away down the towpath, Ms Kelly remembered passing a ‘lovely, friendly girl’ she later realized was Ashling, who stopped to pet Ms Kelly’s dog, Joey, when he ran up to her.

Soon afterwards Puska dragged Ashling into the brambles beside the canal. There, he launched his vicious attack, stabbing her 11 times on the right side of her neck. He continued even when interrupted by two female joggers.

‘He was crouched over holding her down,’ witness Jenna Stack said. ‘She was kicking so hard, like a scissors kick. ‘She was moving whatever part of her body she could to get help.’ Puska snarled at the pair to ‘go away’ and tried to lunge at them, so, fearing for their own lives and without their mobile phones, the women ran to summon help.

‘I thought the guy was going to rape her,’ Ms Stack said, although detectives found no evidence to suggest Ashling had been sexually assaulted.

The joggers alerted two workers who were tidying the towpath, and they in turn asked a passing cyclist to ride back to investigate. He discovered Ashling alone, barely alive, and dialed 999. Garda Tom Dunne, who was first at the scene, told the court there was ‘an awful lot of blood’. He tried to give her CPR but by the time paramedics arrived she was already dead.

As the pathologist outlined Ashling’s terrible injuries and her bloodstained possessions, including her tracksuit, pale pink bobble hat and gold necklace which spelled her name, were shown to the jury, Mr and Mrs Murphy openly wept in the public gallery.

Having just brutally killed Ashling, Puska then set about covering his tracks and spinning a web of lies.

He had left his bicycle at the scene, so lay in a ditch in a nearby field for several hours until it went dark, before going to see a friend, whom he persuaded to take him the four miles home to Mucklagh, where he lived with his wife and children.

That evening he shaved off his beard, arranged for his clothes to be burned and got a lift to his parents’ flat in Dublin.

At some point he also stabbed himself in the stomach, because the following day he began vomiting blood and was taken by ambulance to the city’s St James’s Hospital, where he had keyhole surgery for three knife wounds.

He lied to doctors, saying the self-inflicted injuries had been caused when he was stabbed by two random men in broad daylight the previous day.

They called the Gardai to investigate, but when officers began questioning Puska, who had visible scratches on his arms and forehead, they were immediately suspicious.

Detective Inspector Shane McCartan said: ‘It just did not add up… We came to the conclusion that the information we were in possession of may be of material assistance to the investigation of the murder of Ashling Murphy.’

Two detectives from Tullamore were dispatched to interview Puska. But the doctors refused to allow them to speak to their patient that evening and they had to wait until the following day – January 14 – to ask him about Ashling. It was then that Puska made his bombshell confession. But four days later, after he was discharged and formally arrested, he changed his tune.

Puska invoked his right to silence, or said he couldn’t remember what happened on the day of the murder.

Originally from Lucivna, a tiny village of fewer than 1,000 residents, in the north of Slovakia, Puska is of Romanian gipsy descent.

After spending time in Prague in the Czech Republic, he arrived in Dublin in 2013, aged 23, with his wife, two young children and other members of his extended family.

Shortly before the murder he managed to secure a five-bedroom council house in nearby Mucklagh.

But the neighbors said the couple ‘had no respect’ for their home, which was situated in a well-kept cul-de-sac.

One elderly resident told the Mail: ‘I’d be very happy if I never hear that b******’s name ever again.

Read Also: Who is Romelu Lukaku? Wiki, Bio, Age, Family, Criminal case against 150 Juventus fans who racially abused noises is CLOSED after prosecutors

‘I remember him being here. I remember the mess that was in the front of the house, bags of rubbish everywhere.

‘There were always people coming and going at all hours. There was noise. There were problems with rats and everything.’

Although Puska had previously been employed on building sites, the family lived off the £166-a-week disability benefit he received after slipping a disc in his back in a work accident.

Puska told the jury he spent his days helping his wife with the housework and taking the children to school.

A source told the Mail that Puska, who insisted on an interpreter to help him understand the court proceedings, appeared to have a better grasp of English when arguing for a bigger home than the ‘broken understanding’ he displayed at the trial.

One local who knew Puska in Lucivna told reporters they couldn’t believe he was responsible.

‘He is from a decent family,’ the local said. ‘He has three brothers and all of them, including their parents, gradually moved to Ireland. ‘They went there for a better life, because in our country it is not possible to live decently when you don’t have a job.’

It is not thought Puska has any previous criminal convictions, but another former classmate from Slovakia claimed he was ‘no innocent.’

‘He was a weirdo and aggressive,’ the school friend said. ‘He was often fighting, his behavior was bad.’

Sources told the Mail that Puska, who wears his shoulder-length hair slicked back in a ponytail, tried to cheat Ashling’s family of justice midway through the trial by attempting to kill himself in prison, the night before taking the stand in his defense.

He failed to show any remorse throughout, appearing cocky and sometimes winking or nodding at his family from the dock.

Earlier this year, on the anniversary of Ashling’s death, a memorial fund was set up in her name. Because of her love of Irish music – she taught younger musicians in her spare time – the fund aims to raise money to promote Irish music, dance and culture among young people. A scholarship has already been set up at the college where she trained to become a teacher.

Her father Ray said ‘one of his biggest losses’ was listening to her teach her students on Saturday afternoons. ‘I would listen to them for half an hour while I was drinking my cup of tea. It was lovely [but] that’s gone now,’ he said.

‘Life will go on and we will celebrate all the good things, but she had so much more to give to everyone.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK

What she did in her short 23 years, had she had another 23 years, what would she have achieved? That’s our terrible loss.’