Insights from Jozef Puska’s School Friend: Searching for Answers Behind the ‘Evil’

The Tragic Tale Unfolds: Jozef Puska’s Conviction for Ashling Murphy’s Murder

Jozef Puska, the man convicted of the brutal murder of primary school teacher Ashling Murphy, was sentenced to life in prison last week.

The Mail sought insights from Igor Gazi, a former school friend of Puska, to shed light on the mind of the perpetrator.

A Childhood Connection: Igor Gazi’s Recollections

Igor Gazi, now 34, grew up in the same village as Puska and attended school with him in the city of Svit. Living across from Puska’s family home in the remote village of Lucivna, Igor reflected on their early years. Puska, of Roma ethnicity, had a seemingly ordinary childhood until his move to the capital, Bratislava, at the age of 16.

The Journey to Ireland: Seeking a Better Life

Puska’s relocation to Ireland, around a decade ago, was driven by the pursuit of a better life for his family. Igor shared that initially, Puska seemed to have no significant problems, maintaining contact with friends even after the move.

The former family home in Slovakia remains empty, preserved by neighbors, as Puska’s life took a dark turn.

A School Friend’s Perplexity: Trying to Understand the Unthinkable

Igor expressed his bewilderment at Puska’s transformation into a killer. Describing Puska as a normal young man with several relationships in his youth, Igor struggled to reconcile the person he knew with the one who committed such a heinous act.

The idea of a ‘short circuit’ in Puska’s brain was suggested, leaving Igor grappling with the inexplicable.

Family Testimonies: Puska’s ‘Righteous’ Image Shattered

Contrary to the shocking crime, Puska’s father and former classmates described him as a ‘righteous boy.’ Jan Gazi, Igor’s father, asserted that Puska appeared normal and fine when he returned home on holiday. Despite having a caution for an incident in his youth, Puska had no previous convictions.

The Chilling Details: Murder on the Towpath

The circumstances surrounding Ashling Murphy’s murder were horrifying. Puska, unemployed and living off disability benefits, attacked the 23-year-old teacher on the towpath of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly.

Gardai revealed his disturbing activities before the murder, including messaging women on a dating app and ‘stalking’ other women in the town.

A Web of Lies: Puska’s Attempt to Evade Justice

Puska initially confessed to the murder but later retracted, claiming he was drugged up on painkillers in the hospital when he confessed.

He concocted a tale of a ‘real killer’ attacking both himself and Ashling, but the jury dismissed his account in just over two hours. The trial judge condemned Puska’s actions as ‘nonsense,’ asserting the presence of ‘evil’ in the room.

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