Ashling Murphy accused lied to jury, court hears

A man accused of murdering a schoolteacher in the Republic of Ireland last year has told "foul and contemptible" lies for the sake of the jury at his trial, a court in Dublin has heard.

Jozef Puska, 33, of Lynally Grove, Mucklagh in County Offaly, is charged with murdering Ashling Murphy.

Ms Murphy, who was 23, was fatally assaulted while jogging near Tullamore in January 2022.

Mr Puska has pleaded not guilty to her murder.

After three weeks of evidence, the defence and prosecuting barristers have given their closing statements in court.

Jurors are expected to begin considering their verdict on Wednesday.

Giving evidence last week, Mr Puska said he was trying to help Ms Murphy after she had been attacked by another man, who he said had also attacked and stabbed him.

The court also heard evidence from gardaí (Irish police), who said Mr Puska admitted killing Ms Murphy while receiving hospital treatment at in Dublin.

Prosecuting barrister Anne-Marie Lawlor said the evidence against Mr Puska was overwhelming.

Ms Lawlor said Ms Murphy had suffered likely defensive wounds as she tried to save herself and DNA examined by forensic experts matched that of Mr Puksa.

She told the jury that Mr Puska told "contemptible lies that he was trying to save the life of Ashling Murphy".

"He killed her brutally," she said.

"He killed her by inflicting substantial wounds on her."

Ms Lawlor said Mr Puska told "lies and mistruths, some of which I say are foul and contemptible in their nature" adding that the lies affected his credibility and reliability.

Jozef Puska
Jozef Puska has pleaded not guilty to Ms Murphy's murder

Defence counsel Michael Bowman said the case had to be decided on the evidence and not on emotion, prejudice or sympathy.

He urged jurors not to arrive at a decision with a closed mind.

Mr Bowman admitted Mr Puska had "done himself no favours" in the actions he took after Ms Murphy's death, which included suggesting the clothes he was wearing that day should be burned.

He said this did "nothing but heap suspicion on him".

But Mr Bowman said lies were not necessarily evidence of guilt.

He said the details of the case were "not as straightforward as the prosecution would have you believe".

Sitting alongside a translator, Mr Puska appeared in court wearing a grey jacket and open-neck shirt.

Ms Murphy's family were also in court, as they have been throughout the trial.