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Ashling Murphy: a man has been charged with the murder of the 23-year-old primary school teacher

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Ashling Murphy: a man has been charged with the murder of the 23-year-old primary school teacher

Jozef Puska, 31, has appeared in court in Ireland charged with Ashling Murphy’s murder.

Updated 20 January: Jozef Puska, 31, appeared at a special court in the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday night charged with the murder of Ashling Murphy.

The 23-year-old teacher was attacked while exercising beside a canal in Tullamore, County Offaly, just before 4pm on Wednesday 4 January.

In the court, a detective sergeant gave evidence of the arrest, charge and caution.

The court heard that when the charge was put to the defendant, he replied “no”.

Puska’s defence solicitor applied for free legal aid and for the services of an interpreter, saying that he was a Slovakian national living on €200 (£166) a week.

Judge Catherine Staines remanded Puska in custody to appear again at Clover Hill District Court on 26 January.

A second man in his 30s who was arrested earlier on Wednesday has been released without charge.

On 18 January, hundreds of mourners gathered at St Brigid’s Church in Mount Bolus this morning to attend Murphy’s funeral.  

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At the weekend, thousands of people attended vigils across the UK and Ireland to pay tribute to Murphy, who was attacked and fatally injured while out for a run on the banks of Tullamore’s Grand Canal last Wednesday around 4pm.

And as the week came to a close, Gardaí investigating the murder revealed it had made “significant progress” in the investigation, after a man in his 40s who was initially arrested on suspicion of murder was released and eliminated from enquiries.

The man officers had been searching for was believed to have been a stranger to Murphy, and is said to have fled the scene when two women came across the attack and raised the alarm. 

Ashling Murphy tribute
Notes and flowers left after a vigil at the scene of Ashling's murder in Tullamore, Ireland on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference from the scene after news of Murphy’s death broke last week, Superintendent Eamonn Curley said “no stone will be left unturned” in the effort to bring Murphy’s attacker to justice.

At the time, Curley told reporters it is believed that the crime was committed “by one male who acted alone,” and said Gardaí were keeping an “open mind” and appealed to witnesses. He also confirmed that Murphy had sustained injuries “consistent with an assault” and that a post-mortem examination had been carried out to determine the exact cause of her death. 

People who knew Murphy have paid tributes to the young woman, with her former teacher at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick calling the killing “tragic and senseless”.

“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to her family, friends, colleagues and pupils,” said MIC president Eugene Wall. “The entire MIC community is heartbroken and shocked to the core.”

Murphy’s murder has also prompted tributes from women’s rights activists and politicians, and sparked further outcry about the issue of male violence against women.

“The whole country is shocked and devastated at the horrific murder of Ashling Murphy while going for a run,” said Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill. “Her family, friends, colleagues and the children she taught are in our thoughts this morning. Violence against women and girls must be stopped.” 

In a statement, Sarah Benson, CEO of Irish Women’s Aid, said: “The killing of women is the extreme end of a spectrum of violence and abuse that women in Ireland and across the world experience every day. 

“The appalling murder of Ashling Murphy, a young woman in County Offaly yesterday, is a shocking example of the dangers posed to women by violent men. We offer our sincere condolences to Ashling’s family, friends and community.” 

Many people have also been taking to Twitter to share their condolences, including women’s rights activist Gina Martin and author Louise O’Neill.  

Victim Support is an independent charity that provides practical and emotional support to victims of all crimes, including sexual assault and harassment. For help and information you can contact the charity’s free 24/7 Support line number on 0808 16 89 111 or seek support via the website: victimsupport.org.uk.

With the support of more than 60 experts and public figures, Stylist is calling on the government to launch a long-term public awareness campaign about male violence against women – aimed directly at men. Find out more about our call for #AFearlessFuture

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.