Ireland

Ashling Murphy’s portrait raised high and Puska’s head sank following verdict

A framed picture of Ashling Murphy (Brian Lawless/PA)
A framed picture of Ashling Murphy (Brian Lawless/PA)

Members of Ashling Murphy’s family burst into tears as they were told Jozef Puska had been found guilty of her murder.

Ms Murphy’s mother Kathleen clutched onto a framed photograph of her daughter as friends and family took in the unanimous verdict of the jury.

People sitting on the benches for friends and family could be heard agreeing with judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt’s assessment that there was “evil in the room”.

Jozef Puska court case
The parents of murdered teacher Ashling Murphy, Kathleen (holding picture) and Raymond (right), listen as their son Cathal (centre) issues a statement to the media (Brian Lawless/PA)

Others smiled in relief as they embraced each other.

Members of Puska’s family in the courtroom were visibly upset and angry while an elderly woman was seen holding up a small cross.

The murderer’s head briefly sank into his hands, before he clasped them together underneath his chin.

Eventually, his head bowed as he stared at the floor while the judge continued his remarks to the jury.

Puska was ultimately escorted out of the courtroom to be taken back into custody.

The jurors were applauded as they exited the chamber and Mrs Murphy lifted the framed photograph aloft to them.

Jozef Puska court case
The parents of murdered teacher Ashling Murphy, Kathleen (left) and Raymond (right) and her sister Amy (centre) (Brian Lawless/PA)

The judge said he had asked for silence but said the applause was “understandable”.

There were further emotional scenes as members of the family later gathered outside the court.

Ms Murphy’s brother Cathal and boyfriend Ryan Casey stepped forward to speak to gathered reporters.

Her mother, sister Amy, and father Ray solemnly listened on as the men thanked the Irish public for their support.

Mr Casey said they had received an “outpouring of love and support” from Irish people around the world.

Mr Murphy told the gathered reporters: “The judicial process cannot bring our darling Ashling back, nor can it heal our wounds, but we are relieved that this verdict delivers justice.”

After he concluded by appealing for privacy while the family processes its grief and loss, they were applauded by onlookers as they re-entered the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin.