Twisted Jozef Puska asked the interpreter to stop translating as Ashling Murphy’s heartbroken partner delivered his victim impact statement in court.

Puska could not listen as grieving Ryan Casey told him on Friday, November 17, that it is because of the Slovakian’s evil actions he would never get to marry his soulmate, reports Belfast Live.

The 33-year-old was sentenced a week after being unanimously found guilty of the murder of the 23-year-old teacher on a canal path in Tullamore, Co Offaly, on January 12, 2022.

Father-of-five Puska – who showed no remorse and put the family through the agony of a three-week trial – refused to even look at Ashling’s partner as he faced down the killer in court.

Mr Casey turned directly to Puska as he gave his harrowing statement and told him he was "the epitome of evil".

He said: "I don’t care where you end up, or what happens to you after today. But you smirked, you smiled, and you showed zero remorse throughout this trial, which sums up who you really are, the epitome of evil.

"But one thing is for sure, you will never ever harm or touch another woman ever again.

Jozef Puska in the dock at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.
Jozef Puska in the dock at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin.

"And when your day of reckoning comes may you be in hell a whole half hour before God even knows you’re dead.

"Because of you, I’ve lost my Ashling. Because of you, I’ve lost everything I ever wanted in life. Because of you, I’ll never get to marry my soulmate."

Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he’d asked Justice Minister Helen McEntee to consider giving judges the discretion to apply minimum sentencing in some cases.

In his sentencing on Friday, Judge Tony Hunt told the court that if he had the power to impose a whole life order on Puska he would have.

Speaking at a Fine Gael conference Mr Varadkar pledged an extra 600 prison spaces, adding: "I’ve asked Minister McEntee to examine that.

"As you know, Minister McEntee has already increased the maximum sentences that can be imposed on people for serious assault or the assault of an emergency worker during their work, so it’s an area that I’ve asked her to give consideration to.

Ashling Murphy’s heartbroken partner read out an impact statement at sentencing.
Ashling Murphy’s heartbroken partner read out an impact statement at sentencing.

"That wouldn’t mean a minimum sentence in all circumstances, but would give a judge the power to impose a minimum sentence if the judge felt it appropriate.

"There is a connected piece to this, and I know people don’t like to talk about it, but we do need to have adequate prison spaces.

"Not because I want to see a higher incarceration rate, I don’t, but if we’re genuinely serious about locking up very dangerous people – murderers, rapists, paedophiles, the heads of major criminal gangs – for 20, 30, 40 years, and I think that’s what people want, with the rising population, we’re going to need more prison spaces."

After being given the mandatory life sentence Puska was taken back to Cloverhill Prison where he was processed as prisoner No 117923.

He will now serve his jail term for the savage murder at the Midlands Prison – but will be segregated away from other inmates.

A source told the Irish Sunday Mirror: "Puska will be on 24-hour suicide watch for the first few weeks and he will be kept in a padded cell.

"He’ll be housed in a standalone unit and kept there for several weeks. He will be let out to exercise, alone, once a day. Feelings are running high and he’s under threat."

Meanwhile, a school friend of Puska says that he must have had a "short circuit" in his brain when he killed Ashling.

Speaking from his home in northern Slovakia, former classmate Igor Gazi, 34, who grew up opposite Puska in the village of Lucivna, said he couldn’t understand what could have turned him into a killer.

He told the Daily Mail: "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 before he left to Prague. When he moved to Ireland we called each other on the phone.”

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Igor’s father, Jan, 57, described Puska as a "righteous boy" who seemed "normal and fine" when the family returned home on holiday.

Puska messaged several women on the dating app Badoo prior to the murder and gardai suspected him of stalking several women on the day he killed Ashling.

The predator stabbed Ashling 11 times in the neck and left her dying in the bushes. Her time of death was recorded on the Fitbit watch she was wearing.

Puska then knifed himself in the stomach to make it look like he’d been attacked but later told detectives in hospital: "I did it. I murdered. I am the murderer."

On Friday, Ashling’s heartbroken sister Amy told the court how the family "still sets the table for five".

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