On Friday the 33-year-old was put in prison for life, having being convicted of the 23-year-old Irish woman’s murder last week
A friend of the killer Jozef Puska has said he must have had a ‘short circuit’ in his brain when he murdered primary school teacher Ashling Murphy. On Friday the 33-year-old was put in prison for life, having being convicted of the 23-year-old Irish woman’s murder last week.
An old classmate by the name of Igor Gazi lives on the other side of the road from where the killer Puska grew up, in an isolated village of Lucivna, at the bottom of the High Tadras mountains in northern Slovakia. The village is home to less than 1,000 residents, and its where Puska lived until he was a teenager and migrated to the capital of Bratislava when he was 16, The Daily Mail reports.
At first he worked on building sites and then he moved to Prague in the Czech Republic. It’s thought he travelled to Ireland alongside his wife, two eldest children, parents and extended family approximately ten years ago to achieve “a better life”.
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His old family home, a tiny dilapidated house in an impoverished area, is unoccupied. But local people believe it has not been sold and is being watched over by neighbours.
34-year-old Igor went to school with Puska in the city of Svit, which is approximately one mile away, and he said at first he stayed in contact with his friend when he moved to Ireland. Igor recalled that Puska ‘didn’t have any problems’ and was unable to understand how he could have become a killer.
Igor said: “I can’t explain it. Perhaps he had some short circuit (in his brain) that made him do this. When he was a young man he had several girlfriends as usual before he left to Prague.
“When he moved to Ireland we called each other on the phone. He didn’t even have any problems with his wife. Who doesn’t argue in family?”
57-year-old Jan, Igor’s father, called Puska a ‘righteous boy’ and said he appeared ‘normal and fine’ but the family went home on holiday. The killer has no former convictions, however he was reprimanded for having sex with an underage girl whilst he was under the consenting age in his home country.
When Ashling was murdered on the towpath of the Grand Canal, in Tullamore, County Offaly, on January 12 last year, the father-of-five was unemployed and relying on disability benefits. Reporters speaking to Gardai heard that Puska, who was married to his wife Lucia – who stood alongside him at his trial – had also been sending messages to women on the dating app Badoo before the murder took place.
CCTV footage shows him ‘stalking’ women in the town, which is approximately 60 miles west of Dublin, in the hours before he attacked Ashling indiscriminately. She was stabbed eleven times in the neck during the day before and left dying in brambles beside the canal.
As a talented violin player she was a burgeoning musician and visited the canal after her job for a run, but was dead by 3.31pm. This time of her death was known due to the Fitbit watch she was wearing.
At first Puska fessed up to the murder, and said: “I did it. I murdered. I am the murderer.” However later he removed his confession and said it was made after he had taken painkillers in hospital.
He said his injuries, which included three stab wounds to his abdomen, were caused by the ‘real killer’ who attacked himself and Ashling on the towpath. He claimed that he had been attempting to assist Ashling when witnesses saw him hovering of her body in the shrubbery.
But what really happened was that he stabbed himself and produced a web of lies in an attempt to avoid justice. Trial judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt at Dublin Central Criminal Court told the nine men and three women that he supported their verdict. He said there was ‘evil’ in the room.