Hundreds of thousands of people across Ireland are expected to join a minute’s silence today when Ashling Murphy’s funeral begins at 11am amid an outpouring of public grief.
Ms Murphy was killed on Wednesday last week while jogging along the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly. A post-mortem examination revealed she was strangled to death.
The funeral takes place as gardaí released a description of her suspected killer for the first time.
Gardaí are planning more checkpoints in Tullamore in coming days to ask the public for information and find anyone who may have helped her killer escape.
According to gardaí, at the time of the attack the suspected killer wore a dark tracksuit with no hood and black tracksuit bottoms with a large, distinctive white stripe.
The description comes from a video of a man on a Falcon Storm mountain bike that was captured on an apartment block CCTV camera close to the time of the murder and matches a description offered by one of two women who witnessed the killing.
A still from the CCTV has been circulating online since Thursday last week and was confirmed as authentic by a man who was interrogated about the killing before being eliminated from the investigation.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin and President Michael D Higgins will join Ashling’s family and friends at the funeral today, while hundreds of thousands of people across the country are expected to join a minute’s silence while the service is taking place.
An Garda Síochána set up checkpoints on the two bypasses outside Tullamore appealing for information on anyone who may have driven the suspect to the town’s train station, or to Dublin, in the hours after the murder.
Ashling Murphy was killed last Wednesday. The 23-year-old teacher’s funeral takes place today, and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take part in a minute’s silence scheduled for 11am
Police probing the murder of schoolteacher Ashling Murphy are trying to identify a mystery man who was seen cycling near to where the 23-year-old was killed. According to gardaí, at the time of the attack the suspected killer wore a dark tracksuit with no hood and black tracksuit bottoms with a large, distinctive white stripe (pictured: CCTV still)
Ashling Murphy’s mother, sister, and brother, linked arms and walked along the bank of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly on Jan 14 during a vigil for the murdered teacher
People hold a vigil outside the London Irish Centre in Camden in memory of murdered primary school teacher 23-year-old Ashling Murphy – Saturday January 15, 2022
Gardaí have still not been able to trace the suspect’s movements in the hours after the killing and have made inquiries at Tullamore taxi companies to ask if they had taken the suspect to one of three locations – Dublin, the Offaly village where he lives, or to the train station after the killing.
One taxi dispatcher said yesterday that the Garda questions were focused on one named suspect, who was known to the taxi company. The man appeared in
Dublin in the hours after the murder and was admitted to a Dublin hospital with cuts and bruises to his body, for which he has yet to offer an explanation.
A source close to the case said that gardaí are examining the possibility that Ashling tried to fight off her killer with keys she was carrying when she went jogging after work last Wednesday.
Radu Floricel, who was wrongly suspected by gardaí in the first 24 hours of the investigation, confirmed to the Irish Daily Mail that a still we showed him of a cyclist wearing dark tracksuit bottoms with a white stripe is from a video of the suspected killer that was repeatedly shown to him when he was being questioned in Tullamore Garda Station.
Mr Floricel was released last Thursday and gardaí released a statement confirming that he was no longer a suspect.
Hundreds attended a vigil and walk to remember 23-year-old Ashling Murphy in Kinsale on Saturday. Candles were lit in the town park and the many attendees walked silently around the town
A search of the current suspect’s home continued for a fourth day yesterday in what has turned out to be one of the largest murder investigations in the State’s history. The man is father to a number of children who live with him in the house.
Gardaí are now liaising with police in his home country to check if he has a criminal record. On Sunday, the Mail observed seven gardaí in forensic suits removing possessions from the home, while three plain-clothes gardaí and a uniformed officer conferred with them.
The huge search operation is taking place at the man’s family home in an Offaly village where he and his family moved after initially living in Tullamore.
Gardaí have also removed a bottle bank on the Daingean Road in Tullamore where they believe the suspect may have dumped either clothing or a knife after the killing. Gardaí sealed off seven other bottle banks at the site, which is monitored by a CCTV camera.
Detectives are eager to question the suspect, who is from Central Europe and remains in hospital.
Ms Murphy came from a highly respected family in the local area that is well known in the music scene, and live outside 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
A Garda talks to a rambler by the floral tributes laid at the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly, where primary school teacher Ashling Murphy was found dead after going for a run on Wednesday afternoon. Picture date: Monday January 17, 2022
In a renewed appeal, gardaí asked Tullamore residents to come forward if they noticed a man dressed in a black tracksuit top with no hood, black tracksuit bottoms with a large white stripe or white writing on the side and black runners.
Gardaí are still looking for information about the bicycle, which has straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks.
A statement from An Garda Síochána added that the force ‘continues to be concerned’ about the activity of persons sharing information on social media and, in particular, private messaging apps.
An Garda Síochána said it ‘appeals to everyone to STOP sharing these messages’, adding: ‘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.’
The funeral of the 23-year-old primary school teacher is due to take place in Mountbolus, near Tullamore, this morning.
Teacher unions have asked that all schools across the country observe a minute’s silence when the tragic victim’s funeral begins at 11am today.
Rosary was said for her at 8pm.
Her coffin is due to arrive at St. Brigid’s Church, Mountbolus, for Requiem Mass at 11am.
Fr Michael Meade, parish priest of Kilcormac and Killoughney, will be the chief celebrant.
The burial will take place in Lowertown Cemetery, Mountbolus.
Unions including Fòrsa, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland and the Teachers’ Union of Ireland have urged schools and colleges to observe the minute’s silence.
They said in a joint statement: ‘We are encouraging schools to fall silent to remember a beloved primary school teacher, taken far too soon and show our solidarity with her friends, family, colleagues and pupils as Ashling is laid to rest.’