Appearance of 31-year-old at special sitting draws crowd of more than 100 to court building
Relatives of Ashling Murphy stood at the back of a courtroom holding pictures of the schoolteacher last night as a 31-year-old man appeared before a special sitting charged with her murder.
The young woman was fatally assaulted while out jogging along the grand canal in Tullamore on Wednesday of last week.
Yesterday evening Jozef Puska, a Slovakian national with an address at Lynally Grove, Mucklagh, Co Offaly, was brought before a late night sitting of the local district court.
He was charged with the murder of Ashling Murphy (23) at Cappincur in Tullamore on January 12 last.
Detective Sergeant David Scahill gave evidence of his arrest, charge and caution.
The court heard Puska replied “no” when the charge of murder was put to him.
The accused, wearing a grey tracksuit, did not address the court during the brief hearing.
He listened to proceedings through the assistance of a Slovakian interpreter.
Legal aid was granted after a statement of means was submitted to the court.
Defence solicitor Eoin Lysaght also said that the accused is on disability benefit of €200 a week.
Bail can only be granted for a murder charge by the High Court and Judge Catherine Staines remanded the accused in custody until January 26 to Cloverhill district court.
There was a significant garda presence at the courthouse with a large crowd of onlookers also gathered on the street outside.
By the time the hearing had finished, a crowd of over 100 people had formed outside the court building as the accused was taken into a Garda van and driven away.
A number of Ashling’s family members also stood at the back of the court holding pictures of the school teacher during the hearing.
A second man was arrested as part of the investigation earlier yesterday.
The man, who is aged in his 30s, was questioned at a Garda station in the eastern part of the country on suspicion of withholding information contrary to The Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998.
He was held under the provisions of Section 30 Offences Against the State Act 1939 and has since been released without charge.
A Garda spokesman said a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in relation to the matter.
Ashling Murphy was fatally assaulted while out jogging along the grand canal in the town at around 4pm.
She was from the townland of Blueball, just outside of Tullamore, and was a teacher at the nearby Durrow National School.
Her funeral mass was held in St Brigid's Church in Mountbolus on Tuesday.