Sunday, January 16, 2022

Police focus on mountain bikes as a man is questioned about the murder of Ashling Murphy

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Irish police continued to question a man Thursday night as they investigated the murder of a young teacher as she jogged along a canal.

The murder of 23-year-old Ashling Murphy in Tullamore, Co. Offaly has sparked widespread grief and anger, and vigils are planned across Ireland in the coming days.

A 40-year-old man has been arrested and is being questioned by Gardai.

Irish police have promised they will “leave no stone unturned” in bringing Ms Murphy’s killer to justice.

Ms Murphy, a primary school teacher in Tullamore, was killed Wednesday afternoon while running along the banks of the Grand Canal.

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

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.

Senior Irish politicians vowed justice would be done for Ms Murphy’s family and condemned violence against women.

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

“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,” he said.

“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 heart of our society’s values.”

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

He tweeted Thursday afternoon: “There must be zero tolerance for any violence against women.”

Mr Varadkar called Ms Murphy’s death “truly devastating and senseless”.

“Every effort will be made to ensure that justice is done,” he added.

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 Thursday morning that 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 scene remained sealed as the inquest continued Thursday night when Gardai confirmed a post-mortem had been completed.

Also on Thursday evening, Irish police issued another call for witnesses, urging anyone with information about a “Falcon Storm mountain bike” with “straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks” to come forward.

The route along the Grand Canal is often busy and a popular place for walkers and joggers.

Floral tributes were left outside the school gates of Durrow National School, where Ms Murphy taught, as the local community faltered after the attack.

Durrow National School principal James Hogan said the school community was “completely devastated”.

He told RTE Radio Ms Murphy was a “bright light that puts a smile on everyone’s face”.

He added: “Aisling was a shining light to the children and a very professional and talented young teacher.

“She has been an inspiration to so many, not just at our school but throughout the school community.”

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