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Flowers at the scene in Tullamore yesterday.
Flowers at the scene in Tullamore yesterday.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

Gardaí renew appeal for help to catch Ashling Murphy's killer and announce dedicated tip line

The 23-year-old teacher was killed when she was attacked along the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore.
Jan 14th 2022, 8:11 AM 151,319 0

Updated Jan 14th 2022, 6:10 PM

GARDAÍ HAVE RENEWED their appeal for help in their investigation of the murder of Ashling Murphy. 

In a new statement a spokesperson said that significant progress has been made in their investigation into the murder.

They have also said that Ashling’s family are appreciative of the national support but have requested privacy as they come to terms with their loss. 

The statement said it was not confirming any specific details for operational reasons. They have also said that they have set up a dedicated line, 0579357060,  for information.

“An Garda Síochána continue to support Ashling’s family at this time.  The Murphy family are appreciative and overwhelmed by the national outpouring of support shown to them.  The Murphy family have requested that they now need privacy, space and time to process Ashling’s death.

“An Garda Síochána wishes to acknowledge the support of the public to date and in order to assist the public in providing information to the investigation team a dedicated phone line 057 9357060 has been established at Tullamore Garda station.

“An Garda Síochána continue to appeal to any person who has not made contact with the investigation team and who has any information on this fatal assault to come forward,” the spokesperson said. 

Sources have told The Journal that gardaí have identified a new suspect and they have found evidence that he used the Falcon Storm bicycle they have included in their appeals. 

The 23-year-old teacher was killed when she was attacked along the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly on Wednesday afternoon.

Gardaí are continuing to call for anyone with information to come forward and have made a renewed appeal for information on the movements of a bicycle. 

Anyone with information on a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks are being asked to contact gardaí in Tullamore

Ashling, who was from the village of Blue Ball outside Tullamore, was attacked along the canal bank way in Cappincur at around 4pm on Wednesday. Anyone who was in the area at that time is being asked to contact gardaí.  

A 40-year-old man was arrested a short time after her body was discovered and he was questioned by gardaí throughout yesterday before being released. 

Gardaí are keen for the message to out clearly and unambiguously that the man has been eliminated from the probe and is no longer a suspect.

“Gardaí continue to appeal for any person with any information on this fatal assault, who may not already have spoken to investigators, to come forward with that information,” An Garda Síochána said.

A post-mortem has been completed but a garda statement said yesterday evening that the results would not be revealed for operational reasons. However, sources have said it is believed the young woman died from strangulation

Tullamore_Falcon_Storm Anyone with information on this bike are being asked to contact gardaí. Source: An Garda Síochána

The killing of the young teacher has shocked people locally and across the nation, with friends and public figures expressing their sadness and anger at Ashling’s tragic death. 

The stretch of canal walkway where Ashling was running is called ‘Fiona’s Way’ – named after Fiona Pender, a 25-year-old local woman who went missing while pregnant in August 1996. 

Gardaí have said that a “full-scale” murder investigation has been launched into Ashling’s death, with over 50 gardaí assigned.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee called the death “truly shocking” and pledged that “whoever is responsible for this will face the full rigours of the law”.

Those at Durrow National School, where Ashling was a school teacher, paid tribute to their “dear colleague and friend,” saying they were utterly “devastated at her passing”.

“Ashling was a very professional and talented young teacher. We are deeply saddened by her tragic loss. Our thoughts are also with her beloved family at this sad time.”

Speaking to the media today, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said it’s a “very sad moment in our nation’s affairs when a young, talented musician had her life violently taken”. 

“Our hearts and our minds go out to the Murphy family, to her community, her family and friends, and in particular to the young pupils who no doubt would have been looking forward to Ashling’s presence in the classroom,” Martin said. 

“It has united the nation in solidarity and in revulsion on what has happened,” he said. 

“No stone will be left unturned in terms of bringing this investigation to a completion, to bring the person responsible for this to justice.”

Last night, a remembrance vigil was held in Eyre Square in Galway with further vigils being held across the country today

Anyone with information is asked to contact Tullamore Garda Station on 057 932 7600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.

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‘Never lose sight’

The solicitor of the man released by police investigating Ashling’s murder said today his client has had his “life ruined”. Gardaí released the 40-year-old last night, stating he is “no longer a suspect”.

Donal Farrelly, who represented the man during his two days of questioning, condemned those who had tried to identify him on social media.

Farrelly told the PA news agency: “This man has been vilified on social media and clearly identified on social media.”

The solicitor said his client had endured a “traumatic period” while at Tullamore Garda Station.

“Any form of interrogation or questioning is inherently traumatic,” Farrelly said. “And he’s been through two days of this.”

He confirmed the man stayed away from his home and local area on Thursday night after his release.

“We must never lose sight of the dreadful trauma to the Murphy family,” said Farrelly, who voiced his “every sympathy” to Ms Murphy’s loved ones.

“But this is an innocent man, who has now been cleared,” he added.

- With reporting by Garreth MacNamee, Niall O’Connor, Adam Daly, and Press Association

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Rónán Duffy

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