Ashling Murphy, 23, died Wednesday after being attacked while walking in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Police said a man arrested after her death was no longer a suspect
The killer of a young teacher whose death shocked Ireland is still at large after police released a man they were questioning.
Ashling Murphy, 23, died Wednesday after being attacked while walking in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
A man arrested in connection with the murder was released last night by Gardai, who said he had been excluded from the investigation and was “no longer a suspect”.
Ashling’s murder has sparked widespread outbursts of grief and anger. Vigils are planned in towns and cities across Ireland on Friday and the coming days.
Gardai called for witnesses and asked anyone with information about a “Falcon Storm mountain bike” with “straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks” to come forward.
In a statement, a Garda spokesman said: “The man who was arrested and detained by An Garda Siochana as part of an investigation into this fatal attack has now been released from that detention.
“This man has been eliminated from a Garda investigation and is no longer a suspect.”
Earlier, Irish police vowed they would “leave no stone unturned” in bringing Ms Murphy’s killer to justice.
Ms Murphy, a primary school teacher in Tullamore, was killed Wednesday afternoon while running along the banks of the Grand Canal.
Those who knew her described her as a gifted musician loved by her students.
Her death has sparked new conversations about women’s safety in Ireland, with many wondering how such an attack could have happened in broad daylight.
Several hundred people attended a vigil in memory of Ms Murphy in Galway on Thursday night.
Many in the crowd brought flowers and candles to the vigil.
Senior Irish politicians vowed justice would be done for Ms Murphy’s family and condemned violence against women.
Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin said the teacher “represented the best of modern Ireland”.
“The entire country is devastated and shocked by the violent and barbaric murder of Ashling Murphy, a young woman in the prime of her life,” he said.
“There is no place for violence in our society, especially violence against women. It cannot and will not be tolerated.
“Women’s safety is at the core of our society’s values.”
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar sent his condolences to Ms Murphy’s family.
He tweeted: “There must be zero tolerance for all violence against women.”
Mr Varadkar called Ms Murphy’s death “truly devastating and senseless”.
“Every effort will be made to ensure that justice is done,” he added.
Dublin, Galway and Belfast are among the places where vigils have already been ordered, with the effects of the attack being felt on both sides of the Irish border.
Superintendent Eamonn Curley told reporters around 50 officers are working on the investigation as he urged witnesses to come forward.
He said Gardai did not believe Ms Murphy knew her killer and said he was likely a “man who acted alone”.
The Grand Canal crime scene remained closed throughout Thursday while the murder investigation continued.
Gardai also confirmed that an autopsy has been completed.
The route along the Grand Canal is often busy and a popular spot for walkers and joggers.
Floral tributes were left outside the school gates of Durrow National School, where Ms Murphy taught, as the local community faltered after the attack.
Durrow National School principal James Hogan said the school community was “completely devastated”.
He told RTE Radio Ms Murphy was a “bright light that puts a smile on everyone’s face”.
He added: “Ashling was a shining light for the children and a very professional and talented young teacher.
“She has been an inspiration to so many, not just at our school but throughout the school community.”
dr Labhras O Murchu, of traditional music organization Comhaltas, said Ms Murphy is “one of the finest exponents of the concertina and fiddle and is also learning the uilleann pipes,” adding, “We know that she and her family are at the heart of her community.”
“She was a very popular school teacher and had so much to offer in so many ways.”
Declan Harvey, Fianna Fail councilor for the area, said: “I’m devastated.
“I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about all of this because it’s a place I go to all the time. She went jogging there, she does it regularly. I’m lost for words.”