Ashling Murphy: Victim impact statements from her family and boyfriend

Ashling Murphy's boyfriend and sister confronted her murderer Josef Puska in court on the day he was sentenced to life.

They told him about their loss and suffering.

These are excerpts from their victim impact statements, and that of Ashling's mother, Kathleen, which was read by a garda officer (Irish police) in court.

The following accounts contain details which readers may find distressing.

'My heart broke when I heard Ashling was murdered' - Kathleen, Ashling's mother

Kathleen Murphy's mother begged her not to go for a jog along the Grand Canal on the day she was murdered.

She told the court how she had asked her to stay near their home.

Ashling refused, said she was 23 years old, hugged her mother and told her she loved her.

The female officer herself became emotional at times as she read out the words.

In the statement, Kathleen Murphy described her daughter as "one in a million," as well as loving, caring and gentle.

A talented musician, she said Ashling brought the family home alive with music when she played her fiddle.

"My heart broke when I heard Ashing was murdered," she wrote.

"My memory, motivation and drive for life is gone forever.

"I can't bear it. I am no longer able for big crowds or small talk.

"There is such a void in our home. I'm barely existing from day to day.

She said it was not her daughter's time to die.

"People say she is in a better place. This I know - but it was not her time, she would want to be on this earth."

She said she was glad that Ashling's grandparents were not alive to live through this.

"As a parent you want your child to go out into this world and live a full and meaningful life yet being acutely aware of how fragile their safety is, wanting to protect them," the statement read.

"I couldn't protect my darling Ashling and now she is gone forever."

Ms Murphy said when Ashling's uncle found her untouched dinner in the bottom of the oven, "the sudden realisation dawned on us that she would never walk through the door again".

"I would give our house, car and every penny I have to have our beautiful Ashling with us."

"Why someone would go out and brutally murder a young woman is totally incomprehensible," she added.

"He [Puska] should never see the light of day again."

"Ashling would be alive today if that evil monster did not come upon her," Ms Murphy's statement read.

"This was a random, unprovoked attack. I believe this coward came from behind and didn't face her.

"His actions must have consequences, he must never see the light of day again."

'You stole her life, took her voice' - Amy Murphy, Ashling's older sister

Ashling's older sister, Amy Murphy, said the family still set the table for five people.

The house is "eerily quiet" without their youngest sister, she said.

Amy told the court that when gardaí brought Ashling's car home, a half-eaten piece of toast and partially full mug of tea was in still the car's passenger side - which demonstrated that Ashling was preparing to come back, she said.

"I see so much of Ashling in our mother," she told the court.

"I have no doubt Ashling would have been an exceptional mother too. She had so much love to give."

She told the court how her sister's murder had been described as "a watershed moment demanding an end to violence against women in Ireland".

She was described as a "catalyst for change in society as we knew it".

But these she said were "titles she did not ask for - titles we wish on no daughter, sister or partner."

She criticised the way in which her sister's death had been "used".

"For us she is Ashling. For many her story will haunt the internet through clickbait articles, trending twitter threads and invasive podcast episodes, using the contents of her story for popularity."

She went on to say how their table was also a gathering place where she and Ashling would play music together.

She said: "Music is not and will never be the same without Ashling. Our love for Irish music was intertwined with a special bond, we could read each other's mind when we played together.

"Each wink and smile she sent my way as her fingers created something beautiful beyond sound, was her connection. Our connection together."

Ashling Murphy
Ashling Murphy

"Ashling's pink fiddle case now lies covered in dust. For me, this serves as the hardest and cruelest reminder we will never play together again and how fragile this life truly is," she said.

Speaking directly to Puska, Ms Murphy said: "Ashling's last 10 minutes on this earth must have felt like the longest ten minutes of her life.

"You stole her life, took her voice and robbed us of our family of five."

Amy Murphy said she had "never felt hatred like this; we were not raised to be like this".

Until 12 January 2022 they had seen the best in humanity, she said, but now are cautious and nervous, look over their shoulders and are suspicious of strangers.

She said this "inhumane act of depravity highlights to us how naïve we were to the dangers lingering in our society, right under our noses in our community, practically on our doorstep".

Speaking to Puska she said: "You were given an Irish welcome and supported by the state to allow you to reside here."

'I have lost everything I have ever wanted in life' - Ryan Casey, Ashling's boyfriend

Ryan Casey took long pauses to compose himself as he read a victim impact statement in court.

He told the court that he and Ashling met in 2013 aged 15 at an underage disco.

Even then, he said, he knew "there was something special about her beautiful and distinctive personality".

Ashling Murphy's family outside court last week
Ashling Murphy's brother Cathal Murphy (left) and boyfriend Ryan Casey (right) outside court last week

Mr Casey took long pauses to compose himself as he described how he and Ashling planned to marry and build a home together.

They were due to meet an architect in February, weeks after she was murdered - and move to Dubai where Ms Murphy would teach before returning home and starting a family.

"I'd smile to myself thinking, I cant wait to marry that girl," he told the court.

"I would've married her a long time ago, and I wish I did, but we didn't get a chance to reach that part.

"Every single plan I had for life is gone and cannot be brought back," he added.

"I've lost everything; the pain of losing someone so important is indescribable."

He said that Puska was "insignificant, the lowest of the low, waste of life" who had no idea what he had done to the Murphy family.

Mr Casey said he had nightmares, he has become short tempered, and does not like looking at or eating with knives.

"I find myself hating myself for small moments of happiness, feeling guilty for feeling happy," he said.

"Feeling lost in life with no direction and with no light at the end of the tunnel."

He said the last time he saw Ashling they could not touch as he had been infected with Covid 19. He regrets that every day, he told the court.

"Ireland has officially lost its innocence that a crime of this magnitude can be done in daylight," he said.

"Our country is heading down a very dangerous path and we will not be the last family."

Facing Puska, Mr Casey said: "May you be in hell a whole half-hour before God even knows you're dead."

"You smirked, you smiled, and showed zero remorse throughout this trial; that sums you up as the epitome of pure evil. You will never ever harm a woman again.

"Because of you I lost my Ashling, I have lost everything I have ever wanted in life, I will never get to marry my soulmate or see her smile again."