Murderer of Irish schoolteacher Ashling Murphy sentenced to life in prison

Irish music teacher Ashling Murphy, 23
Ashling Murphy was running along a canal when she was murdered in Jan 2022 - Facebook/Facebook

The “monster” who murdered a primary school teacher was sentenced to life by an Irish court on Friday, after her boyfriend told the killer he was “the epitome of pure evil”.

Jozef Puska stabbed 23-year-old Ashling Murphy 11 times in the neck in a random attack, as she exercised by a canal in the town of Tullamore, on the afternoon of Jan 12.

The 33-year-old Slovakian, who moved to the County Offaly town in 2015, was given a life sentence seven days after being found guilty of murdering a woman he had never met before following a three week trial.

Jozef Puska, 31 charged with the murder of Irish teacher
Jozef Puska was described as 'the epitome of pure evil'

Ryan Casey, Ms Murphy’s partner of six years, said it “sickens me to the core” that Puska was able to come and enjoy all the benefits of living in Ireland before destroying someone who represented everything good in Irish society.

He said: “I feel this country is no longer the country Ashling and I grew up in. This country needs to wake up.

“The safety of not only Irish people, but all people in this country who work hard” needed to be put first, he said during a tearful victim impact statement.

He told the court the “horrific and completely evil taking of her life is our life sentence” and added that for Murphy’s family there was no chance of parole.

“She was only 23. She had so much more life and love to give and was taken from us far too soon,” he said after describing how they met at a disco when they were both 15 and planned to marry.

A girl of a guard of honour of the children whom 23-year-old teacher taught
Ms Murphy's student in a guard of honour for the 23-year-old last year - CLODAGH KILCOYNE/REUTERS

Turning to Puska, Mr Casey told him: “I will say to you, you have no idea the love and connection we shared, you have no idea the love we had for each other.

“Because of you I lost my Ashling, I have lost everything I have ever wanted in life, I will never get to marry my soulmate or see her smile again. I will have to carry on without her and remember her longer than I have known her.”

He added: “You smirked, you smiled, and showed zero remorse throughout this trial, that sums you up as the epitome of pure evil.

“You will never ever harm a woman again and when your day of reckoning comes may you be in hell a whole half hour before God even knows you are dead.”

Mr Justice Hunt said the sentence was “wholly deserved” and that, if he had the power,  he would have considered a whole life tariff for Puska.

He said he did not believe the father of five did not remember confessing to the murder to police, which he did to officers who visited him in hospital.

The murder prompted calls for more to be done about femicide in a country where 18 women have been violently killed since Ms Murphy’s death.

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