Ashling Murphy Murder Trial: Here's what happened on day eight

Today the court heard Miroslav Sedlacek was called on twice on January 14th last year to translate for Jozef Puska over the phone
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.25 26 Oct 2023

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Ashling Murphy Murder Trial: H...

Ashling Murphy Murder Trial: Here's what happened on day eight

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.25 26 Oct 2023

Share this article

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

Jozef Puska, of Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, Co Offaly is on trial, accused of murdering Ms Murphy in January 2022.

He 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 the court heard Miroslav Sedlacek was called on twice on January 14th last year to translate over the phone.

"The first call was in the afternoon, at about 12.21, it lasted 44 minutes," Frank told The Hard Shoulder.

"That conversation related to Jozef Puska's claim that he had been attacked and stabbed in Blanchardstown two days beforehand.

"During that chat the interpreter said there was some conversation about a bicycle.

"He was asked by the prosecuting barrister, Ms Anne Marie Lawlor, was Jozef Puska speaking freely during that conversation in the afternoon.

"He said that he was, and also sometimes he said that he was talking quickly - so he had to stop at times to be able to translate what he was saying to the Gardaí".

Second call

Frank said the second call took place at 6.20pm that evening, lasting 23 minutes, when Mr Sedlacek was asked to translate again.

"During that conversation he said a search warrant that had been executed at St James's Hospital was explained to Mr Puska, and he was told it related to his personal belongings, that they had to be seized as part of a criminal investigation.

"He said that Mr Puska wanted to know why, and he was told that the investigation related to a murder in Tullamore.

"He said the Garda also asked Jozef if he had any information whatsoever about that incident in Tullamore, and Jozef replied by saying that he knew something from the internet but not too much.

"The interpreter said Jozef wanted to know at this point if he was a suspect, so the Garda explained that he wasn't but that he was a person of interest.

"He said Jozef then asked him personally, as his interpreter, to translate his confession word for word.

"He asked him to translate it accurately; he said it was quite spontaneous, that everything came quickly.

"He said that Mr Puska wanted him to tell the Guards that he did it, that he killed her, but that he didn't do it intentionally.

"He said that he didn't want to do it and that he was very sorry that he had.

"We heard from the interpreter that the Gardaí then cautioned Jozef, Jozef understood what that meant according to the witness."

Voice changed

Mr Sedlacek said Mr Puska then wanted to ask some questions of the Gardaí, specifically in relation to the wellbeing of his family.

"He wanted to know if there's any possibility that the girl's family would like to take any revenge on his own for what he did," Frank said.

"The translator said that his voice changed significantly during this conversation in the evening time.

"He said it was very different to the earlier conversation.

"He said that after he made that confession he was quite emotional.

"He described his voice as trembling, he said his sentences were already disjointed, and he said he supposed it was as a result of the situation that he was in.

"He was in very low spirits at that point, even desperate, according to the interpreter.

"The Garda explained to him that there wouldn't be any problem, no dispute, between the two families.

"At that point then the Garda told the interpreter that Jozef wasn't feeling well, so they ended the call at that point".

Forensic evidence

The jury was also presented with some forensic evidence in relation to a navy fleece, a pair of sunglasses and a mountain bike.

"They didn't find anything on the jacket, no marks according to a fingerprints expert called Dr Kim Connick," Frank said.

"She was unable to develop any finger or palm marks from the sunglasses either.

"But she said she did find something on the underside of the saddle of the bike.

"Using fingerprint powder she was able to develop a mark from that, she took a photograph of it.

"Under cross-examination she accepted that it wasn't unusual to find a mark there, because most people lift their bike by holding the underside of the saddle.

"The jury also heard, in relation to her evidence, that the grips from the handlebars were missing so it was exposed metal in that particular area."

Frank said Detective Sergeant Damien Carroll of the Garda Technical Bureau examined this mark on the underside of the saddle.

"He said through his examination, he was left in no doubt that the mark found under the saddle belonged to Jozef Puska's right ring finger," Frank said.

"The jury also heard from an expert in DNA called John Hoade, now retired but in January of last year he was working with Forensic Science Ireland.

"He said they took swabs from the handlebars of that bike, he took some from the gear-changing mechanism.

"He said that he was able to develop a DNA profile from it; he said he also received a blood sample taken from Jozef Puska at St James's Hospital, as well as a sample taken from him at the Garda station after he was arrested.

"So, three DNA profiles in total - he said he compared all three, and that all three matches each other.

"He said the likelihood of the DNA found on the bike belonging to somebody other than Jozef Puska is over one in a billion," he added.

Every day of the Ashling Murphy murder trial will be documented by Newstalk Courts Correspondent Frank Greaney via the All Rise: The Ashling Murphy Murder Trial podcast. 

Listen back here:

Main image: A vigil for Ashling Murphy in Kinsale, Co Cork is seen on January 15th 2022. Image: John Allen / Alamy Stock Photo

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