On Wednesday, a man who killed a woman at a canal crossroads in Offali became upset when another woman reached the spot. When the woman was fatally attacked on Wednesday afternoon, the deceased woman had left for a run just outside Tullamore.
The victim, who was in her early 20s, was well known in Tullamore as she worked as an elementary school teacher. She was locally named Ashling Murphy. She was also involved in the arts and had performed publicly for many years. His family is from just outside Tullamore.
Justice Minister Helen Mackenty expressed her grief over the murder, urging anyone with information that could help solve the crime to come forward immediately.
“My thoughts tonight are with the family, friends and community of the young woman killed in this truly shocking crime,” she said. “Anyone with information please, come forward to En Garda Siochana. The guard will investigate this terrible crime and ensure justice.”
Ms. Murphy, who was early in her teaching career, played traditional music and her family is well known on the music scene in Offaly as her father also plays in a band. She often performed with her sister, including at the local Tullamore Tradefest.
A 40-year-old man was taken into custody at Tullamore Garda station on Wednesday night. He was being detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows him to be interviewed for 24 hours without charge. The arrested person lives in Tullamore area. He is not from there but has been living and working in Co Offaly for many years.
One line of questioning is that there was no known connection between the attacker and Ms Murphy and that the fatal attack was random. However, Garda sources insisted that the investigation was in its early stages.
It is being told that the attack was taking place at around four o’clock in the evening in Capinkur near Boland’s Lock, when another woman reached the spot and harassed the attacker, another woman also reached almost immediately.
The area has become very popular with runners and walkers, especially since the pandemic began. The apparent nature of the attack and the incident in broad daylight at such a busy location has shocked the area.
While the alarm was immediately raised and paramedics and Gardai arrived quickly, Murphy was pronounced dead at the scene. The suspect was arrested soon after the attack.
The area was sealed off and Ms Murphy’s remains were left overnight at the scene until a pathologist arrived for a preliminary examination of the body early Thursday morning.
“An incident room has been set up at Tullamore Garda station under a senior investigating officer. A family liaison officer has been appointed and is liaising with the family of the deceased,” a statement from Garda said.
Counselors from the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) will visit the school where they worked this morning.
Gardai was appealing to anyone with knowledge of the deadly attack to come forward. He urged anyone to contact him in the area of Capinkura and the Canal Walk area of Tullamore before 4 p.m.
Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowan, who represents Laos-Ofli, said the community was in shock. “Our area, like the entire country, is shocked and stunned,” he said. “Thoughts, prayers with his family, friends, co-workers and community.”
Josepha Madigan, the minister of state responsible for special education and inclusion, said: “A young woman can’t even go for a run in the canal – at four o’clock in the middle of the day – only to be attacked and murdered. True to her family Condolences. We urgently need to address why we live in a country where this can happen.”