Ireland

‘Heart was ripped from my body’ when Ashling Murphy was killed, mother says

The mother of murdered teacher Ashling Murphy described a ‘void’ in her home (PA)
The mother of murdered teacher Ashling Murphy described a ‘void’ in her home (PA)

The partner of Ashling Murphy said that he has lost his soulmate in a heartfelt victim impact statement delivered to a Dublin court.

Ms Murphy’s mother and her sister described the 23-year-old as a gifted musician, a passionate teacher, a selfless member of the community and an integral part of their family.

“This country has lost somebody who made a difference,” Ashling’s older sister Amy Murphy said.

They gave their victim impact statements at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin before Jozef Puska was handed a life sentence for Ms Murphy’s murder in Tullamore, Co Offaly, last January.

Jozef Puska court case
The brother of murdered teacher Ashling Murphy, Cathal (left), and boyfriend Ryan Casey (right) leave court (Brian Lawless/PA)

Puska, 33, of Lynally Grove in Mucklagh, Tullamore, had pleaded not guilty.

There is a mandatory life sentence for murder, where an application for parole can be made after 12 years.

Mr Justice Tony Hunt said there was only one sentence available, and it was “richly deserved”.

He said Puska’s evidence had been “indescribable” and the “one thing we don’t know about this case is the why”.

Addressing the court on Friday, Ryan Casey said he and Ms Murphy had plans to travel to Dubai together, to build a house in Co Galway, to start a family and to get married.

He said they had talked about how many children they would have, and imagined they would be “little hurlers and camogie players and even better – musicians”.

Mr Casey said their relationship was “full with love, trust respect” and “was quite simply heaven on earth”.

He said it did not make sense to him that someone could “completely and permanently destroy someone… who is the complete opposite”, describing Ms Murphy as “a light with dreams, compassion, respect, a person who contributes to society in the best way possible”.

Jozef Puska court case
Cathal Murphy issues a statement to the media after Jozef Puska, 33, was found guilty (Brian Lawless/PA)

Ms Murphy’s mother Kathleen said her “heart was ripped” from her body the moment she learned her daughter had been killed.

In a victim impact statement read out in court by a detective garda, Mrs Murphy said her “heart broke the moment I heard the bad news Ashling was murdered”.

“There is such a void in our home,” she said.

She said that the actions of Puska “must have consequences” and that “he should never see the light of day again”.

She said that before her daughter left the house, she had begged her not to go along the canal, to which Ms Murphy replied “ah mum, I’m 23 years old” before giving her mother a hug.

“(She) said ‘I love you, you’re the best mum in the world’ and walked out the door,” the court heard.

Ashling Murphy’s mother Kathleen, father Raymond and brother Cathal were in court for sentencing.