Ashling Murphy: what happened to teacher killed in Tullamore, as police identify new person of interest | #teacher | #children | #kids

Vigils around Ireland, the UK and elsewhere have been held in memory of murdered school teacher Ashling Murphy

Ashling Murphy bravely tried to defend herself from her killer, and her fight for life means crucial DNA evidence was secured.

Ashling, 23, was found by Gardai authorities after she was murdered in Cappincur, Tullamore, Ireland.

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She was killed in broad daylight on Wednesday after going jogging.

Police say the inquiry has made “significant progress” and it’s understood officers have identified a person of interest.

Vigils have been held around Ireland and elsewhere in Ashling’s memory in recent days.

Here is everything you need to know about the situation.

Ashling Murphy was found dead by the banks of the Grand Canal in Cappincur. (Credit: PA)

Who was Ashling Murphy and what happened to her?

Ashling Murphy was a 23-year-old primary teacher at Durrow National School, and was from from Tullamore in County Offaly, Ireland.

The young teacher’s body was found by authorities on Wednesday afternoon on the banks of the Grand Canal in Cappincur.

It is believed that she was murdered after she went jogging in the area at around 4pm, with Gardai confirming they believe the attack took place in broad daylight.

Superintendent Eamonn Curley previously said “there is no information that the victim and her killer were known to each other.”

He also said that officers were keeping an “open mind” over the investigation and appealed for any witnesses or anyone with any information to come forward.

Superintendent Curle said: “This area here, where the crime occurred, is popular among Tullamore residents and is widely used for recreational purposes.”

The garda have appealed for any information on a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/ green front forks, and have released an image.

Officers have also asked for anyone who was near the scene of the murder at the before 4pm on Wednesday to contact them on 057 932 7600, the garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111.

An image of the bike officers are appealing for information about.

What is the latest development in the inquiry?

Police have the killer’s DNA after Ashling tried to defend herself from her attacker. The Mirror reported, a source saying:

“Her attempts to defend herself resulted in us having the attacker’s DNA.

“She fought him. That will be crucial.”

The Mirror also reported that sources confirmed detectives have secured DNA and fingerprint evidence from the bicycle they believe is connected to the killing.

It follows after the Garda said on Saturday (15 January) it had made “significant progress” in its investigation.

It is understood they have identified a new person of interest, who is believed to be in hospital in the Dublin region, and are waiting to speak to him.

It comes after the gardai eliminated a 40-year-old man, who they had been questioning last week, from their inquiries.

Floral tributes and candles are left after a vigil outside the London Irish Centre in Camden.

What have others said about the situation?

Ashling’s murder has touched the community, with friends, family and mourners laying flowers for the young woman.

Her death has sparked fresh conversations about the safety of women in Ireland, with many questioning how such an attack could happen in broad daylight.

Vigils took place across Ireland and beyond on Saturday in memory of Ashling.

Park Run runners in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland held moments of silence on Saturday morning for Ms Murphy.

Later, people gathered at locations across Ireland on Saturday afternoon to remember Ms Murphy, with hundreds attending a vigil in Cork on Saturday morning.

Vigils have spread beyond Ireland in recent days, with events organised in Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as in Brisbane, Australia.

At a vigil in north London on Saturday, people held candles and stood in silent tribute outside the London Irish Centre.

Traditional music was played in honour of Ms Murphy, a talented fiddle player, while some of the crowd quietly sang or hummed along.

Park Run participants at Orangefield Park in Belfast observe a silence in memory of murdered primary school teacher 23-year-old Ashling Murphy.

Anna Johnston, cultural officer at the London Irish Centre, said people had come together in solidarity with those who knew and loved Ms Murphy “and all the women of Ireland and further afield who are angry, distressed and heartbroken”.

Addressing the crowd, she added: “Today, along with Ashling, we remember all the women who have had their lives stolen through gender-based violence. We shouldn’t be here, and Ashling should be.”

The vigils come amid widespread calls for an end to violence against women.

Activist and former TD Ruth Coppinger called on Saturday for a “major conference” on gender-based violence.

“This is a watershed moment that must be tapped and lead to meaningful change,” she said.

Thousands of people gathered in the late afternoon in Tullamore, Dublin, and Belfast on Friday, as Ireland continues to reel from the murder of Ms Murphy.

Ms Murphy’s family attended a candlelit vigil near the murder scene on Friday evening.

A woman lays flowers at the scene where Ashling’s body was found in Wednesday afternoon. (Credit: PA)

At the event, her father Ray Murphy paid a poignant tribute to the talented young musician by performing her favourite song on the banjo.

He broke down in tears while playing the final chords of When You Were Sweet Sixteen.

Mr Murphy, along with his wife Kathleen and daughter Amy, walked on the opposite side of the canal to where his daughter was assaulted and died on Wednesday.

Politicians have promised that all resources necessary will be provided to the gardai to find the killer.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said that the murder has “united the nation in solidarity and revulsion”.

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

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