Ashling Murphy Murder Trial: Here’s what happened on day 15

Today, the prosecution and defence delivered their closing arguments to the jury
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.34 7 Nov 2023

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Ashling Murphy Murder Trial: H...

Ashling Murphy Murder Trial: Here’s what happened on day 15

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.34 7 Nov 2023

Share this article

Today, the Ashling Murphy murder trial entered its fifteenth day at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

Jozef Puska, of Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, County Offaly is accused of murdering Ms Murphy and denies the charge.

To follow all things related to the trial, you can listen to Newstalk Courts Correspondent Frank Greaney's daily podcast All Rise: The Ashling Murphy Murder Trial.

Today, prosecuting counsel Anne-Marie Lawlor gave her closing remarks to the jury.

"She said the evidence in this case is overwhelming in relation to the guilt of Mr Puska," Frank told The Hard Shoulder.

"For starters, she said, that he confessed that he killed Ashling Murphy, and she said to the jury in her closing speech that he did that - because that's what he did, he did kill her, she said.

"She said that Mr Puska says he doesn't remember making the confession - this was in relation to admissions he's said to have made at St James's Hospital a couple of days after he's alleged to have murdered Ashling Murphy.

"Ms Lawlor said his lack of memory about saying that, about making that confession, was extraordinary - given that an internationally renowned expert who had gone through his hospital records with a fine tooth comb found that the medication, the oxycodone that he was given at St James's Hospital, had nothing to do with his state of mind, nothing to do with what he said to Gardaí.

"She also questioned the credibility of the medical expert called by the defence, the jury heard from him yesterday.

"He accepted that his report was based on the wrong dosage of oxy.

"In relation to Mr Puska not being assessed as fit for interview before he made the confession in hospital, she said that he wasn't being interviewed.

"She said that a search warrant was executed at the hospital and that he just started talking to members of the investigation team.

"She said that confession that he made in hospital, where he said, 'I did it, I murdered, I am the murderer', is powerful evidence in this case."


Frank said Ms Lawlor then focused on some particular pieces of evidence.

"The fact that his DNA was found under Ashling's fingernails, and she described Mr Puska's response when Gardaí asked him about that as extraordinary, in that - in her words - he made a garbled response about gloves," Frank said.

"She also spoke about the evidence of a prosecution witness, Jenna Stack, who gave evidence earlier in the trial - she described coming across a man leaning over or crouching over a woman that he was holding down in a bush, in a hedgerow along the canal, and she made a mistake when she identified a man in an ID parade the following day.

"Ms Lawlor today said people make mistakes about facial recognition all the time.

"She suggested the man Ms Stack saw, holding down Ashling Murphy that day, was Jozef Puska.

"She accused him of telling lies, and she said that when someone tells lies their credibility is then called into question, and their reliability of what they say thereafter is affected by those lies."

'Telling lies'

Frank said Ms Lawlor also accused Mr Puska of telling lies to the Gardaí.

"She said he lied to the Guards in hospital, also acknowledged telling lies at the Garda station," he said.

"She said all of the evidence points to the guilt of Jozef Puska beyond a reasonable doubt.

"She said his behaviour afterwards, his actions afterwards, whereby she said that he'd left her to die, hid in a ditch for hours, fled to Dublin, changed his appearance by shaving and came up with - in her words - a cock and bull story about being stabbed.

"She said all of that was wholly and only consistent with guilt."

'People lie for lots of reasons'

Frank said Mr Puska's barrister Michael Bowman then took to his feet.

"Firstly he told the jurors that they're not allowed to speculate about what happened," he said.

"He asked where the evidence of his client following women around Tullamore that day was.

"This is in relation to CCTV footage shown to the jurors, and the evidence of a woman called Anne Marie Kelly who claims that a man was cycling slowly behind her, was following her that afternoon, stared at her in an intimidating way.

"Mr Bowman said in relation to his client that he accepts that he was cycling slowly around Tullamore that day, but that he always cycles like that.

"He told the jury that even if they are satisfied that he was following girls around Tullamore that day, that doesn't mean he had a predatory, murderous intent.

"He questioned the reliability of timings, this in relation to data extracted from Ashling's Fitbit device.

"In relation to lies told he said they must be dealt with carefully, because he said people lie for lots of reasons and according to the law lies cannot exclusively be indicative of guilt.

"He invited the jurors to take a cold, analytical analysis of the evidence, to critically stress test each piece of it.

"He said that if they do, he suggested that they'd find that they cannot return a guilty verdict," Frank added.

Listen back here:

Main image: A photo of Ashling Murphy is surrounded by messages and flanked by candles and flowers in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Picture by: Kacy O'Riordan

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All Rise: The Ashling Murphy Murder Trial Anne-Marie Lawlor Ashling Murphy Ashling Murphy Murder Trial Jozef Puska The Hard Shoulder