Court appearance Ashling Murphy relatives in court to see Jozef Puska (31) face murder charge
Relatives of Ashling last night stood at the back of a local courtroom, holding pictures of the schoolteacher
Relatives of Ashling Murphy last night stood at the back of a local courtroom, holding pictures of the schoolteacher, as a 31-year-old man was charged with her murder.
The young woman was fatally assaulted while out jogging along the Grand Canal in Tullamore on Wednesday of last week.
Yesterday evening Jozef Puska (31), a Slovakian national with an address at Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, Co Offaly, was brought before a late-night sitting of the local district court.
He was charged with the murder of Ashling Murphy (23) at Cappincur in Tullamore on January 12 last.
Detective Sergeant David Scahill gave evidence of his arrest, charge and caution.
The court heard Mr Puska reply “no” when the charge of murder was put to him.
The accused, wearing a grey tracksuit, did not otherwise address the court during the brief hearing.
He listened to proceedings through the assistance of a Slovakian interpreter.
Legal aid was granted after a statement of means was submitted to the court. Defence solicitor Eoin Lysaght also said that the accused is on disability benefit of €200 a week.
Bail can only be granted for a murder charge by the High Court and Judge .
Catherine Staines remanded the accused in custody until January 26 to Cloverhill District Court.
There was a significant garda presence at the courthouse, with a large crowd of onlookers also gathered on the street outside.
After the hearing finished the crowd of over one hundred people had formed outside the court building as the accused was taken into a garda van and driven away.
A number of Ashling’s family members also stood at the back of the courtroom holding pictures of the young schoolteacher whose death triggered the sympathies of the nation.
Earlier yesterday, a second man was arrested as part of the investigation. The man, who is aged in his 30s, was questioned at a garda station in the eastern part of the country, on suspicion of withholding information contrary to the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998.
He was held under the provisions of Section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act 1939, and was later released without charge.
A garda spokesman said a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in relation to the matter.
Ashling Murphy was fatally assaulted last Wednesday while jogging along the Grand Canal at around 4pm. She was from the townland of Blueball, just outside of Tullamore, and taught at nearby Durrow National School.
Her funeral mass was held in St Brigid’s Church in Mountbolus on Tuesday.
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