Ireland mourns murdered Ashling Murphy as second suspect is identified


Ireland mourns murdered Ashling Murphy as second suspect is identified and man released without charge is moved to secret location by police after he and his family receive threats

  • Ashling Murphy, 23, was killed on Wednesday along the banks of Grand Canal
  • A post-mortem examination revealed the young teacher was strangled to death
  • Officers say she put up a brave fight but may have been stalked before her death
  • A man, 40, was arrested and questioned but has since been released by Gardai
  • He was moved to a secret location after receiving death threats on social media 
  • Police on Friday said they had identified a second ‘person of interest’ in the case 
  • Investigators appealed for information about a Falcon storm mountain bike 


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Ashling Murphy, 23, was killed on Wednesday afternoon along the banks of the Grand Cana in Tullamore, County Offaly

Ashling Murphy, 23, was killed on Wednesday afternoon along the banks of the Grand Cana in Tullamore, County Offaly

Ashling Murphy, 23, was killed on Wednesday afternoon along the banks of the Grand Cana in Tullamore, County Offaly 

Irish police have identified a second suspect in the Ashling Murphy murder case as Ireland mourns her death. 

Gardai described the man as a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation after Murphy, 23, was killed on Wednesday afternoon while jogging along the banks of the Grand Cana in Tullamore, County Offaly.  

It comes after a 40-year-old man arrested in connection with her murder but released without charge last night was moved to a secret location after he and his family received death threats online. 

The man’s solicitor Donal Farrelly said he had been moved after details which clearly identified him as the suspect under arrest, including his photo, were posted online.

Mr Farrelly said his client had been subjected to ‘extreme vilification’ on several social media platforms following his arrest and that he was going through ‘an extremely difficult time’.   

The man was questioned over two days before his release and last night a garda spokesperson said he had been ‘eliminated from Garda inquiries’ and was ‘longer a suspect.’ 

But Mr Farrelly said it was ‘still difficult to get that message out’ to some social media users and that his client would stay in the hotel until he felt safe enough to leave.

Earlier today, a post-mortem examination of a primary school teacher in Ireland has revealed she was strangled to death. Officers believe she put up a brave fight, but added that Ashling may have been stalked prior to her death. 

Meanwhile thousands of people, including Taoiseach Micheal Martin, attended a vigil for Murphy at Leinster House in Dublin on Friday afternoon. A group of musicians played in honour of Murphy while others lit candles and held pictures of the 23-year-old. 

Memorials were also planned in Tullamore, Limerick, Derry, Dungannon and Belfast on Friday afternoon, with dozens more vigils scheduled across Ireland over the weekend. 

Musicians play during a memorial for 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, who was murdered in Tullamore while out jogging on Wednesday afternoon

Musicians play during a memorial for 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, who was murdered in Tullamore while out jogging on Wednesday afternoon

Musicians play during a memorial for 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, who was murdered in Tullamore while out jogging on Wednesday afternoon

People hold up pictures of Ashling Murphy at a vigil in her honor after police identified a second suspect in the investigation into her brutal murder on Wednesday afternoon

People hold up pictures of Ashling Murphy at a vigil in her honor after police identified a second suspect in the investigation into her brutal murder on Wednesday afternoon

People hold up pictures of Ashling Murphy at a vigil in her honor after police identified a second suspect in the investigation into her brutal murder on Wednesday afternoon

Gardai have again appealed for witnesses and asked anyone with information about a ‘Falcon Storm mountain bike’ with ‘straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks’ to come forward. 

Officers earlier said they believe the killer acted alone and attacked the talented musician while she was jogging along the canal bank at Cappincur, known as Fiona’s Way, at around 4pm on Wednesday.

He fled after two women came across the attack and gardaí were quickly on the scene after a call from a member of the public.

Ms Murphy was still alive and they tried to give medical assistance but she could not be saved.   

Police investigating the murder have said ‘no stone will be left unturned’ in bringing her killer to justice. 

Stormont deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said there had been an ‘outpouring of grief’ following the murder of Ashling Murphy. 

Speaking to the media at a vigil in Belfast, Ms O’Neill said: ‘At the start of this week I launched a strategy. I called for views in terms of developing a strategy to tackle male violence against women.

‘Little did I know on Monday that I’d be standing here only a short number of days later, joining with other women who have gathered here outside Belfast City Hall to show solidarity to the family and all that loved Ashling Murphy.

‘A horrific murder of another woman in our society at the hands of a male.

‘We are all here because we want to show that support, that love.

‘There has been an outpouring of grief all week for Ashling Murphy and for all that loved her.’ 

Ms Murphy died after being attacked while she was jogging along the canal bank at Cappincur, known as Fiona's Way, at around 4pm on Wednesday. The route is named in memory of missing woman Fiona Pender

Ms Murphy died after being attacked while she was jogging along the canal bank at Cappincur, known as Fiona's Way, at around 4pm on Wednesday. The route is named in memory of missing woman Fiona Pender

Ms Murphy died after being attacked while she was jogging along the canal bank at Cappincur, known as Fiona's Way, at around 4pm on Wednesday. The route is named in memory of missing woman Fiona Pender

Ms Murphy died after being attacked while she was jogging along the canal bank at Cappincur, known as Fiona's Way, at around 4pm on Wednesday. The route is named in memory of missing woman Fiona Pender

Ms Murphy (pictured left and right) died after being attacked while she was jogging along the canal bank at Cappincur, known as Fiona’s Way, at around 4pm on Wednesday. The route is named in memory of missing woman Fiona Pender

People hold pictures during a memorial for 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, who was murdered in Tullamore while out jogging, outside Government buildings, in Dublin, on Friday

People hold pictures during a memorial for 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, who was murdered in Tullamore while out jogging, outside Government buildings, in Dublin, on Friday

People hold pictures during a memorial for 23-year-old Ashling Murphy, who was murdered in Tullamore while out jogging, outside Government buildings, in Dublin, on Friday

Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Irish Labour party politician Ivana Bacik attended the vigil for murdered Ashling Murphy outside Leinster House in Dublin on Friday

Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Irish Labour party politician Ivana Bacik attended the vigil for murdered Ashling Murphy outside Leinster House in Dublin on Friday

Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Irish Labour party politician Ivana Bacik attended the vigil for murdered Ashling Murphy outside Leinster House in Dublin on Friday

A woman wearing a mask adorned with the words 'she was going for a run' was pictured at a memorial for Ashling Murphy on Friday

A woman wearing a mask adorned with the words 'she was going for a run' was pictured at a memorial for Ashling Murphy on Friday

A woman wearing a mask adorned with the words ‘she was going for a run’ was pictured at a memorial for Ashling Murphy on Friday

A group of musicians played in honour of Murphy while others lit candles and held pictures of the 23-year-old at a vigil in Dublin on Friday

A group of musicians played in honour of Murphy while others lit candles and held pictures of the 23-year-old at a vigil in Dublin on Friday

A group of musicians played in honour of Murphy while others lit candles and held pictures of the 23-year-old at a vigil in Dublin on Friday

A woman is pictured this morning carrying flowers to lay with other tributes left near to the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly, where Aisling Murphy was murdered on Wednesday evening

A woman is pictured this morning carrying flowers to lay with other tributes left near to the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly, where Aisling Murphy was murdered on Wednesday evening

A woman is pictured this morning carrying flowers to lay with other tributes left near to the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly, where Aisling Murphy was murdered on Wednesday evening

Ashling Murphy, 23, was killed on Wednesday afternoon along the banks of the Grand Cana in Tullamore, County Offaly. Pictured: The scene today

Ashling Murphy, 23, was killed on Wednesday afternoon along the banks of the Grand Cana in Tullamore, County Offaly. Pictured: The scene today

Ashling Murphy, 23, was killed on Wednesday afternoon along the banks of the Grand Cana in Tullamore, County Offaly. Pictured: The scene today 

According to the Independent.ie, Ms Murphy came from a highly respected family in the local area that is well known in the music scene, and live outside Tullamore. 

‘This area here, where the crime occurred, is popular among Tullamore residents and is widely used for recreational purposes,’ Superintendent Eamonn Curley told reporters on Thursday. 

‘The victim of this crime is Ashling Murphy. 

‘Ashling was a schoolteacher in Durrow National School. Our prayers are with Ashling’s family at this time and indeed the wider community, her teaching colleagues and the children she taught who are without their teacher today.

‘Immediately following the discovery of this crime, a full-scale murder investigation was launched.’ 

Ms Murphy came from a highly respected family in the local area that is well known in the music scene, and live outside Tullamore

Ms Murphy came from a highly respected family in the local area that is well known in the music scene, and live outside Tullamore

Ms Murphy came from a highly respected family in the local area that is well known in the music scene, and live outside Tullamore

Declan Harvey, Fianna Fail councillor for the area, said: ‘I want to extend my sympathies to Ashling’s father, mother and all her extended family. 

‘I am devastated. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking of it all because it is a place I go all the time. She went there jogging, she does it regularly. I am lost for words.’

Mr Harvey said it is a route that he and his family often walk.   

‘Tullamore is probably the safest place in the world, and after yesterday people will be nervous to go down to the canal,’ he added. 

‘It’s a lovely area and helps clear your head. It’s a very popular route that everyone takes. People walk their dogs, people with their kids and prams.’

Police officers visited the school where Ms Murphy worked on Thursday morning to speak with staff and offer support.

At around 9.30am, a police water unit arrived at the scene to begin a search of the waterway next to where the attack occurred.

Superintendent Eamonn Curley (left) near to the scene in Tullamore, Co Offaly, after a young woman, who has been named locally as Ashling Murphy, was killed on Wednesday evening

Superintendent Eamonn Curley (left) near to the scene in Tullamore, Co Offaly, after a young woman, who has been named locally as Ashling Murphy, was killed on Wednesday evening

Superintendent Eamonn Curley (left) near to the scene in Tullamore, Co Offaly, after a young woman, who has been named locally as Ashling Murphy, was killed on Wednesday evening

Pictured: A map showing where Ms Murphy's body was found along the Grand Canal way, also known as Fiona's Way. The route is named in memory of missing woman Fiona Pender, of whom there is a monument to in Tullamore

Pictured: A map showing where Ms Murphy's body was found along the Grand Canal way, also known as Fiona's Way. The route is named in memory of missing woman Fiona Pender, of whom there is a monument to in Tullamore

Pictured: A map showing where Ms Murphy’s body was found along the Grand Canal way, also known as Fiona’s Way. The route is named in memory of missing woman Fiona Pender, of whom there is a monument to in Tullamore

Gardai carry out investigations at the Grand Canal at Cappincur on Thursday after the horrific killing

Gardai carry out investigations at the Grand Canal at Cappincur on Thursday after the horrific killing

Gardai carry out investigations at the Grand Canal at Cappincur on Thursday after the horrific killing

Police investigating the murder have said 'no stone will be left unturned' in bringing her killer to justice

Police investigating the murder have said 'no stone will be left unturned' in bringing her killer to justice

Police investigating the murder have said ‘no stone will be left unturned’ in bringing her killer to justice

Justice Minister Helen McEntee tweeted: ‘My thoughts tonight are with the family of the young woman killed in a truly shocking crime, with her friends and with her community.

‘Please, anyone with information, come forward to An Garda Siochana. The Gardai will investigate this awful crime and ensure justice is done.’

Further Education Minister Simon Harris said: ‘A young woman, simply out for a run in the afternoon and brutally killed.

‘Thinking of her and her family and community tonight and their unimaginable pain. We must all act to end violence against women. We all have a responsibility.’   

Gardaí believe the killer acted alone and attacked the talented musician while she was jogging along the canal bank

Gardaí believe the killer acted alone and attacked the talented musician while she was jogging along the canal bank

Gardaí believe the killer acted alone and attacked the talented musician while she was jogging along the canal bank

Pictured: Flowers are left at a Garda checkpoint in Tullamore after a young woman, who has been named locally as Ashling Murphy, was killed in Co Offaly. She died after being attacked while she was jogging along the canal bank at Cappincur at around 4pm on Wednesday. Picture date: Thursday January 13, 2022

Pictured: Flowers are left at a Garda checkpoint in Tullamore after a young woman, who has been named locally as Ashling Murphy, was killed in Co Offaly. She died after being attacked while she was jogging along the canal bank at Cappincur at around 4pm on Wednesday. Picture date: Thursday January 13, 2022

Pictured: Flowers are left at a Garda checkpoint in Tullamore after a young woman, who has been named locally as Ashling Murphy, was killed in Co Offaly. She died after being attacked while she was jogging along the canal bank at Cappincur at around 4pm on Wednesday. Picture date: Thursday January 13, 2022

Superintendent Eamonn Curley speaks to the media near to the scene in Tullamore, Co Offaly

Superintendent Eamonn Curley speaks to the media near to the scene in Tullamore, Co Offaly

Superintendent Eamonn Curley speaks to the media near to the scene in Tullamore, Co Offaly

The canal path that Ms Murhpy was attacked on is named after Fiona Pender, a missing woman who was last seen at 6am on August 23, 1996, at her Tullamore flat.

Her disappearance has been the subject of an on-going investigation ever since.  

Gardai are appealing for information, and asking anyone who was in the Cappincur/Canal walk area of Tullamore before 4pm on Wednesday to make contact with them.

Minister of State Josepha Madigan for Special Education and Inclusion said: ‘A young woman can’t even go for a run along a canal pathway – at four o’clock, in the middle of the day – only to be attacked and murdered.

‘Sincere sympathies to her family. We need to urgently address why we live in a country where this can happen.’

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