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Gardaí issue description of Tullamore person of interest and urge public not to share 'unhelpful' messages on social media

Searches are set to take place at a bottle bank near the scene of the murder today.

Gardaí beside the Grand Canal in Tullamore today.
Gardaí beside the Grand Canal in Tullamore today.
Image: Niall Carson/PA

Updated Jan 17th 2022, 5:43 PM

GARDAÍ HAVE THIS evening issued a description of a man they are seeking information about as they urged the public to stop sharing unverified speculation from WhatsApp and social media. 

In a statement this evening, gardaí said they have made “significant progress” but are not releasing specific details for operational reasons. 

They now want anyone who was in the area to get in touch if they have any information on the following: 

  • Did you see a man dressed in black tracksuit top (no hood), black tracksuit bottoms with a large white stripe or white writing on the side and black runners.
  • Did you see this man walking in the Tullamore area?
  • Did you give a lift to this man on the evening of the 12th January 2022.
  • Did you notice this man loitering at any location or involved in any activity which drew your attention?

Gardaí also pleaded with people to stop forwarding on WhatsApp and social media messages regarding the investigation.

A spokesman said: “An Garda Síochána is aware and continues to be concerned about the activity of persons who are sharing information on social media, and in particular private messaging apps. An Garda Síochána appeals to everyone to STOP sharing these messages.

“Not only are they misinformed, inaccurate and dangerous, they are unhelpful to the criminal investigation. If you have information, which is relevant to this criminal investigation you should contact the investigation team at Tullamore Garda Station with this information.”

Earlier today, gardaí removed a bottle bank for analysis close to where Ashling Murphy was killed in Tullamore as part of their investigations into her murder.

The bottle bank, which was located across the canal bank from where the primary school teacher was murdered, was sealed off by officers yesterday.

Specialist Garda teams are expected to carry out their investigations on the object today.

Gardaí currently have a new person of interest in the case. He is being treated in a Dublin hospital.Officers have also seized electronic devices believed to belong to the man and forensic teams are working their way through those in a bid to track down evidence which might link him to the scene at the time.

Forensic teams are now awaiting the opportunity to test the man’s DNA against DNA samples taken as part of the investigation. Ashling is thought to have fought back against her attacker, who is believed to have been left bloodied by her attempts to stop the attack.

Well placed sources have described this evidence as crucial to the Garda investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Tullamore Garda Station on 057 9357060, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

Ashling’s funeral mass will take place tomorrow at 11am at St Brigid’s Church in Mount Bolus, followed by her burial at Lowertown Cemetery.
Vigils in her memory took place for a fourth night last night at various locations across Ireland.

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