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Nearly two years ago today, I wrote here about the tragic death of Ashling Murphy, a bright, young, attractive 23-year-old kindergarten teacher who was murdered as she was going for a run outside Tullamore, Co. Offaly, Ireland. The case made international headlines around the world, even briefly in America in the NYT. Ashling’s death left behind two doting parents, a broken-hearted boyfriend and brother and sister, a traumatized community, and a changed and sadder Ireland.
I’ve written about Ireland many times here on Ricochet, mostly with contempt and anger at the way it’s being run into the ground by the powers that be, but rarely do I write about sadness in it. No story has made me as sad as this one in the past few years. I wrote about it at the time with raw emotion as can be seen above in the link; today I still feel such raw emotion nearly two years on. As a student of history and an Irish Catholic, I must admit that I’m surprised how it affected me then and still does. It’s fair to say, for a sizeable number of Irish people, that event and the sadness and tragic nature of it will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
Last week’s Ashling’s murderer was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison in Ireland. The murderer, a foreign loathsome creature answerable to the name Josef Puska, lived only a few miles from Ashling’s home place, and in a few moments of cruelty, robbed her of everything in January 2022. The parasite came to Ireland in 2013 and lived off the generosity of the Irish welfare state, gaining a council house, disability benefits for a sore back, and fathering children here. He rewarded the stupidity and incompetence of the Irish state by murdering one of Ireland’s most promising daughters. He stabbed her 11 times in the neck. She fought to her credit but no one survives such wounds. Her Fitbit recorded her heart as it gave out just as emergency responders came on the scene.
When caught by Gardai (Irish police), Puska, who was tracked to Dublin by quick thinking detective work, confessed to the murder. He claimed it was an accident. He claimed someone stabbed him and her, and that Puska ran away to survive. When he realised (however after getting legal aid and a clearer head) that for murder cases in Ireland, pleading guilty gets the same time as pleading not guilty, he decided to further cruelly inflict a trial on the Murphy family. According to a witness in the trial, not only did he perjure himself in the witness box, but he was seen smirking and grinning throughout the trial. It ended, thanks be to God, last Friday when the judge sentenced the lying bastard to life.
Unlike America, where life can mean life (at least before Democrats got in post-2010) Puska will serve a life sentence of on average of 19 to 20 years here. After this, he can appeal for parole; knowing this stupid country, he may well get it. 25, 30 years from now, if he survives prison or self-deletion, he will leave Ireland a free man. Ashling’s parents, family, boyfriend, and friends are, in truth, the real sufferers of a life sentence. Never did the death penalty seem so appealing to many Irishmen and women than when this truth is spoken aloud.
The end of the trial saw not just the sentencing, but the victim impact statements from Ashling’s mother, sister, and boyfriend. As one can imagine, it made for an unbelievably sad reading and hearing. All are haunted by the nature of the death, the cruelty, and the senseless of it. Puska never has given a “reason” for it. All told how their lives are irreversibly damaged from missing her, from her chats with them, her slagging them, her caring actions, her movements, etc. Their mother has said she would trade every possible possession she owned to see her return, her sister said she’s incomplete without her in her life.
But the saddest revelation came from her boyfriend of eight years, Ryan. He had been planning on proposing, building a house, travelling with her, and finally married life with her. All of which died in January 2022. He is, by his own admission, a man filled now with anger and rage, unable to enjoy happiness and, when it happens, feeling guilty for it. He is lost in a world without his soul mate. (As cynical and as tough as I can be, I felt emotional on hearing that.) He hates living. His happiness now is hoping for when he falls asleep, leaves this world, and never wakes up…
Puska’s senseless murder that January shocked Ireland. It might sound shocking to many Americans or other nationalities; while Ireland has murders and even occasionally terrorism, her death felt for many Irish people a nadir had been reached. She was in many ways one of us — someone’s sister, cousin, friend, or neighbour. Someone with everything to live for and who could only but contribute to Irish life. Yet she lives no longer. The cruelty and senseless of that is what still shocks Irish people today. When I try to sum it up, it’s just so sad.
I asked in the last article to pray for her. Pray for her soul, please. And pray for her family and her boyfriend Ryan that they get some form of peace. If you can then pray for me, it has affected me in a way that I really don’t like including my faith.Published in