The family of the ‘monster’ who murdered Ashling Murphy insist he is innocent as he faces life in prison after being convicted of killing the primary school teacher.
Evidence showing his crimes
Jozef Puska, 33, was filmed stalking up to four women – including another teacher – in the hours and minutes before he brutally stabbed his victim 11 times in the neck.
Puska vowed to kill himself as the successful prosecution case against him closed but he was thwarted by prison officers, it was reported earlier on Saturday.
After the verdict, a relative told MailOnline: ‘He told us he didn’t do it. I believe him, yes.
‘He’s a good husband and a good father.’
Puska’s 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 Friday 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.
It also emerged that Puska, a married father-of-five, 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.
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 Romany 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, who have been in court to support him during the trial.
Puska and his wife would go on to have two more children in County Offaly.
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 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 managed to secure a five-bedroom council house in nearby Mucklagh.
But neighbours said the couple ‘had no respect’ for their home, which was situated in a well-kept cul-de-sac.