Sunday, January 16, 2022

Gardai continue the hunt for Ashling Murphy’s killer

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Irish police investigating the murder of a young teacher continue the hunt for her killer.

Late Thursday night, Gardai released a man they were questioning about Ashling Murphy’s death, saying he was “no longer a suspect.”

The murder of the 23-year-old in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, on Wednesday afternoon has sparked widespread outbursts of grief and anger, with vigils planned in towns and cities across Ireland for Friday and in the coming days.

On Friday morning, Gardai issued a renewed appeal for witnesses, asking anyone who might have information about a bike — a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks — to come forward.

Ms Murphy’s family has described her as a “special girl” and a “little angel”.

In a statement, a Garda spokesman said: “The man who was arrested and detained by An Garda Siochana as part of an investigation into this fatal attack has now been released from that detention.

“This man has been eliminated from a Garda investigation and is no longer a suspect.”

Earlier, Irish police vowed they would “leave no stone unturned” in bringing Ms Murphy’s killer to justice.

Ms Murphy, an elementary school teacher in Tullamore, was killed while running along the banks of the Grand Canal.

Those who knew her described her as a gifted musician loved by her students.

In an interview with the Irish Independent newspaper, her father Raymond said: “She was a great worker with a great drive. A wonderful musician.

“She put so much into her short life.”

Her death has sparked new conversations about women’s safety in Ireland, with many wondering how such an attack could have happened in broad daylight.

Several hundred people attended a vigil in memory of Ms Murphy in Galway on Thursday night.

Many in the crowd attended with flowers and candles.

Senior Irish politicians have promised justice to Ms Murphy’s family and condemned violence against women.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said the teacher “represented the best of modern Ireland”.

He added: “The entire country is devastated and shocked by the violent and barbaric murder of Ashling Murphy, a young woman in the prime of her life.

“There is no place for violence in our society, especially violence against women. That cannot and will not be tolerated.

“Women’s safety is at the core of our society’s values.”

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar sent his condolences to Ms Murphy’s family.

He tweeted: “There must be zero tolerance for all violence against women.”

Mr Varadkar called Ms Murphy’s death “truly devastating and senseless”, adding that “every effort will be made to ensure that justice is done”.

Dublin, Galway and Belfast are among the places where vigils have already been ordered, with the effects of the attack being felt on both sides of the Irish border.

Superintendent Eamonn Curley told reporters around 50 officers are working on the investigation as he urged witnesses to come forward.

He said Gardai did not believe Ms Murphy knew her killer and said he was likely a “man who acted alone”.

The Grand Canal crime scene remained closed throughout Thursday while the murder investigation continued.

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