Jozef Puska, a 33-year-old man, has been found guilty of murdering Ashling Murphy last year. After pleading not guilty in court in Dublin, the jury reached a unanimous decision.
After the verdict, the judge declared, “We have evil in this courtroom,” adding, “There will be a day of reckoning for Puska.”
Ashling Murphy was a 23-year-old primary school teacher. She was murdered on the banks of the Grand Canal in the Cappincur area of Tullamore in Ireland, at approximately 4 pm on Wednesday, 12 January last year.
During the trial, jurors heard that Puska had stabbed Murphy in the neck 11 times after attacking her randomly while she was out for a run.
Jozef Puska was arrested several days later on 18 January, and appeared in court the following evening, heckled by crowds of mourners as he approached the building.
A second man in his 30s was also arrested in connection with Ashling’s murder, but was later released without charge.
Ashling Murphy’s death sparked further outcry at male violence against women, and questioning what is being done to protect women. Many have focused on the fact she was out for a run in daylight, an activity many women like to do to keep fit but are feeling increasingly unsafe to do so.
Activist Laura Bates wrote an emotional response to this, pointing out that focusing on this is a complicated form of victim blaming.
“I understand why people are posting ‘she was going for a run’. I get why ‘she was just walking home’ and ‘she did all the right things’ trended after Sarah Everard died,” she posted.
“I know it comes from a place of grief and rage. But it doesn’t matter what they were doing. When we say ‘she was just doing this’ or ‘she was just doing that’, it suggests that the case wouldn’t have been quite so awful or tragic if she had been doing something else.