Ashling Murphy’s mother held a framed picture of her daughter aloft and called her killer a ‘monster’ after a jury found him guilty of her murder last Wednesday.
Kathleen Murphy was hugged by her husband Ray as Mr Justice Tony Hunt said Jozef Puska would face his ‘day of reckoning’ for stabbing 23-year-old teacher Ms Murphy to death.
Jurors at Dublin’s Central Criminal Court returned a unanimous verdict after just over two hours of deliberation, having begun late on Wednesday afternoon.
How he embraced his sentencing
Puska, 33, an unemployed Slovakian immigrant and father of five, bowed his head and looked distressed when the 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’s chilling words
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.
Victim’s family ‘impact’ statements
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 recognise 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, have 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.’