The wife of murderer Jozef Puska is due in court next month - charged with withholding information that could have led to his prosecution.
Our exclusive pictures show for the first time the face of Lucia Istokova - the wife of Ashling Murphy’s killer, who we can now reveal is due to appear before the courts herself.
Ms Istokova stands accused of withholding information from An Garda Siochana which she knew or believed might be of material assistance in securing the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of Jozef Puska for a serious offence - namely the murder of Ashling Murphy.
Ms Istokova is accused of committing the offence at Crumlin Garda station on January 14, 2022.
The particulars of the charge specifically mention the murder of Ms Murphy and state that Ms Istokova is accused of failing “without reasonable excuse to disclose as soon as was practicable to a member of An Garda Siochana” information which she “knew or believed” could have led to her husband’s arrest, prosecution or conviction for the killing.
We have learned that Ms Istokova is due to appear before a sitting of Tullamore District Court in relation to this alleged offence on December 20.
She will appear alongside Puska’s brothers Marek and Lubomir Puska, who are both accused of the exact same offence - but at Tullamore Garda Station on a date unknown between January 12 and January 27, 2022.
Last week Jozef Puska was handed down a life sentence for the murder of Ms Murphy - who he stabbed 11 times and sliced her neck after attacking her while she was out for a run at the Grand Canal Way in Cappincur near Tullamore Co Offaly on the afternoon of January 12, 2022.
Puska, who is now designated as prisoner number 117923 is currently being housed in Dublin’s Cloverhill Prison - where sources say he will remain for the foreseeable future.
Sources say there are currently no plans to move Puska and that overcrowding in other prison facilities means he’s being kept at the remand facility for the time being.
His sentence came after harrowing and extremely powerful victim impact statements from Ms Murphy’s partner Ryan Casey, her mother Kathleen and sister Amy.
Ashling’s partner Ryan Casey became tearful and emotional throughout his powerful speech, in which he turned to the killer sitting in the dock and 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 trail, which sums up who you really are, the epitome of pure evil but one thing is for sure, you will never ever harm or touch another woman ever again and when your day of reckoning comes, may you be in hell a whole half hour, before God even knows you’re dead.”
In her own victim impact statement which was read out by family liaison officer Sergeant Lucy McLoughlin, Ashling’s mother Kathleen told of a heart-breaking final conversation she had with her daughter on the day she was killed - warning her not to go and run on by the canal.
“Before she left that morning, Ashling told me she was going to be home from school a little bit later that afternoon.
“She was going for a jog on the canal line after work. I begged her not to go there as it has always made me feel ill at ease and asked her to go jogging out near home.
“She responded, ‘Ah mum, I am 23 years old’. She gave me a big hug as she said, ‘I love you, you’re the best mum in the world’ and walked out the door,” she said.
“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. I couldn’t protect my darling Ashling and now she’s gone forever.”
Ashling’s sister Amy meanwhile said she is haunted by the thought that no one was able to save her sister - and how she fought for her life.
Speaking directly to Puska, who refused to look at her, she said: “I agonise over whether you had already inflicted your first blow before she was hurled off the canal pavement. Had you time to place your bike down into the ditch as you knew she had already sustained a fatal injury and the rest was yet to come.
“Ashling's last ten minutes on this earth must have felt like the longest ten minutes of her existence as she fought for her life. You stole her life, you took her voice, you robbed us of our family of five.”
Following the incredible statements Judge Tony Hunt said there was nothing further that he could add. He told the court that Puska’s sentence was “richly deserved” before saying that the one question that remains unanswered is “the why.”
He said that "unless that becomes known, the question of your safe return to society must be an open one."
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