Interview: ‘I just went to the store for milk’ – the man who was wrongfully arrested for the murder of Ashling Murphy

A man wrongfully arrested for the murder of Ashling Murphy describes how his visit to a milk shop led to his identification as a suspect.

Edu Florisel got a lift from a friend for a local centra in Tullamore before walking home along the canal on the opposite side of the Grand Canal, where the 23-year-old was attacked.

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Ashling Murphy pictured on his graduation day, killed while jogging along a canal in Tullamore. Photo: Steve Humphries

However, his presence in the vicinity at the time led to him being named the prime suspect for his murder and held at Tullamore Garda station for more than 24 hours.

When he was being questioned, he was shown the CCTV of the shop which proved that he was present at that time. He also paid using a credit card, which means he has a record of his purchases.

Mr Florikel, who has moved to Ireland at the age of 16 from Romania to reunite with his parents, said he wants his name to be completely cleared.
He has multiple past convictions for breaches of public order and believes the current assault charge resulting from an incident at his home last year will be dropped.
“We are a proud Romanian family. We don’t think this should be seen as disrespectful or anything like that.”

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Ashing’s parents Kathleen and Ray with their sister Amy during a vigil on the banks of the Grand Canal, Tullamore. Photo: Gerry Mooney

“My mom is a voice instructor for singing and speech therapy. He has students from all different families in the city. A lot of families and people know us.”
The 39-year-old expressed his sympathy to Ms Murphy’s bereaved family, saying he “can’t even imagine what they are going through”.

“I feel terrible for the misfortune of the young woman and the family. I cannot imagine what they are going through,” he said.

Mr Florisel said: “I have helped and will continue to do everything I can to help with the investigation. It has been a terrifying experience for me, my family and my lawyer.”

He said his lawyer, Donal Farrelly, was subjected to verbal abuse as he drove to and from Tullamore’s Garda station, where Mr Florisel was detained from 5 p.m. Wednesday to 11 p.m. Thursday .

While he was being questioned on Thursday, Mr Florisel’s sister was appearing in court on charges of failing to leave the family home when it was designated as the crime scene. He was remanded in custody till next Wednesday with consent for bail.

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People light flowers and candles at Ashling Murphy’s memorial outside government buildings in Dublin. Photo: Reuters/Clodag Kilcoyne

“Since then [the gardai] Got me arrested I’m living a nightmare. My sister who suffers from mental health problems is now in jail for refusing to leave our house and we are really worried about her. My mother and grandmother are really worried and upset and they have also been forced to leave our house. ,

He said he was “recognized on the media and on social media” and that “really bad” and “derogatory” things were said about him.

When he was released Thursday night, Gardai issued a statement saying he was no longer a suspect and had been removed from his questioning in the murder.

He said that he and his mother, grandmother and sister all live together and have become well integrated into Tullamore – a family with respect.

His parents first lived in Dublin and ran a restaurant there and then they set up a coffee shop in Tullamore Shopping Centre.

Mr Florikel said he worked locally at a mobile phone shop, went to the Athlon Institute of Technology and Sligo to study, and recently worked in a gaming arcade before it was closed due to COVID-19. Were. She has a daughter and is separated from her mother.

The arrival of Gardai at his door on Wednesday was a big blow to him.

“At first I thought it was a joke, I thought it was a joke. The guards were talking about getting arrested for murder and I could not believe it,” he said.

“The house is destroyed. Everything is turned upside down. I don’t know what they were looking for.”

At least four hours earlier he had got a lift from a friend to a nearby shop and went home along the southern bank of the Grand Canal, on the road leading back to his home.

Ashling Murphy’s fatal attack took place on the North Shore, on a walking and cycling trail paved with tarmac, while the side where Mr Florisel walked is a meadow.

He said that the CCTV from the shop which was shown to him when he was being questioned and proved that he was there at that time.

He also said that his phone contained further evidence of what he was doing as it logged the music he was playing.

After being brought to Garda station, she said that her clothes were taken from her and her fingerprints were taken.

“They kept asking the same question over and over and I said ‘No, it has nothing to do with me’. I told them exactly where I was walking, the clothes I was wearing and what I did. I paid with a credit card in the shop so they had everything.”

It was “terrible” when the questions were repeated and he became furious as he had been telling the same thing to Gardai for hours.

“I was telling the truth from the beginning,” he said, adding that he told officers that “as long as you keep me here, the real killer is out there somewhere”.

He was misidentified in a line-up as a result of the resemblance between himself and a man being sought by Gardai.

Also, he was told that the man they were looking for had a different color to his eyes, and that he had decided to grow a beard during the lockdown when he became depressed, a condition for which he was still treated. being done.

After his release he was provided accommodation away from his home for a night and provided with garda security for the family residence.

He told the Tullamore Tribune: “I have the respect for [the guards’] work but it is still a very difficult situation for me because i have been telling the truth from the beginning and i did everything possible to help them for two days.

Alongside the trauma of his detention and interrogation, he said that “the media and social media” had said “really bad” and “outrageous” things about him. He said his “friends” on Facebook have threatened him and called him by name.

“My biggest concern at the moment is for my sister. I am concerned about the safety of my family at this time. I am worried for my sister and my mother and my grandmother [who] Really proud people but he told me now he feels like it, even if it is his home. Now the whole thing is over,” he said.

“I’m trying to get my family back where they were before. I know my name should have been cleared by now but I could still get threats. Some people may not have heard the latest news. Mine The name has not been cleared.”