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

Jozef Puska, of Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, Co Offaly denies murdering Ms Murphy in January 2022
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.07 24 Oct 2023

Share this article

Ashling Murphy Murder Trial: H...

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

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

20.07 24 Oct 2023

Share this article

Today, the Ashling Murphy murder trial entered its sixth 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 about data recovered from Ashling Murphy's Fitbit on the day she was killed.

"A Fitbit Versa 3 fitness tracking device was how it was described by Detective Garda Ciaran Byrne from the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau," Frank told The Hard Shoulder.

"She had it on her while out exercising along the Grand Canal on the day that she was killed.

"He said that it tracked a number of things including steps, calories burned, distance travelled, heart rate, things like that.

"The watch was linked directly to an app on Ashling's phone, and Detective Byrne described using a forensic tool to extract data from the day that she was killed - 12th of January last year.

"According to the data extracted, we heard an exercise session began on that watch at 2.51pm that day.

"A map tracking the watch's journey was handed out to jurors, it was displayed on screens also in the courtroom today."

Heart rate and speed

Detective Byrne said the values were pretty consistent until 3.21pm.

"At 3.21 he said... the watch is no longer travelling in a westerly direction," Frank said.

"He said the direction of travel moved in what he described as an erratic or violent manner in a way that it hadn't done before.

"We heard at that point, at 3.21 in the afternoon, both the heart rate and speed values started to decrease.

"Specifically in relation to the recorded heart rate: Detective Byrne said it started off at about 100 beats per minute, and increased for a consistent period up until 3.21 when it began what he described as a rapid decrease.

"By 3.31pm he said it no longer picks up a heart rate, and that is the time the prosecution believes
she was killed."

A test model

Michael Bowman, barrister for Mr Pushka, cross-examined this witness and urged caution about relying on the accuracy of the data recovered.

"He asked about the software that was used to forensically extract and analyse the data, he also asked about the accuracy of the recorded times and other data such as the elevation of the route at certain points," Frank said.

"Detective Byrne told the jury that he bought a test model and then walked the route of the canal before extracting that test data as a reference.

"He said the watch was synced to a Garda test account.

"He said the results of his test were consistent with the data extracted from Ashling's Fitbit account, right up until the point where the heart rate began to drop rapidly."

A lift home

The court also heard that Mr Puska got a lift home on the night the schoolteacher was killed.

"This witness is Rostislav Pokuta, who is also from Slovakia, he knew the Pushka family," Frank said.

"He gave two statements to Gardaí in the weeks after Ashling's alleged murder.

"The first one was described today as incomplete with him not giving a full account of what he remembered about the evening of the 12th of January last year.

"The second time that he spoke to the Gardaí he outlined how Mr Puska called to his home at about 9 in the evening looking for a lift home to Mucklagh.

"He said Jozef told him that he'd ben in a fight up the town, but that he didn't tell him who he was in a fight with.

"He said that he didn't really want to talk very much with him.

"He then dropped him home in his son's car, and that he looked scared when he called over that evening.

"He said he was wet, his face was scratched, and on the way to Puska's house in Mucklagh he said he asked him several times what happened but that he wasn't really talking during that car journey," 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: Flowers left in tribute to Ashling Murphy at Leinster House on January 17th 2022. Image: Sasko Lazarov/

Share this article

Read more about

Ashling Murphy Central Criminal Court Fitbit Frank Greaney Jozef Puska The Hard Shoulder