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Probe latest Decision on charging Ashling Murphy murder suspect not to be made until tonight

It is now expected that the chief suspect will have to either be charged or released by 8pm this evening.

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Ashling Murphy

Ashling Murphy

Ashling Murphy

THE chief suspect for the murder of Ashling Murphy availed of his rest period in garda custody last night.

This means the 31-year-old suspect’s 24-hour period of questioning over the shocking killing was suspended while he availed of the rest period.

This “stopped the clock” in relation to his questioning.

Without availing of this rest provision under the Act he was arrested for, a decision would already have had to been made by the DPP at this stage.

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Tullamore garda station in Co Offaly where a man is being questioned by police investigating the death of Ashling Murphy (Niall Carson/PA)

Tullamore garda station in Co Offaly where a man is being questioned by police investigating the death of Ashling Murphy (Niall Carson/PA)

Tullamore garda station in Co Offaly where a man is being questioned by police investigating the death of Ashling Murphy (Niall Carson/PA)

It is now expected that the chief suspect will have to either be charged or released by 8pm this evening.

Ashling died after being attacked while jogging along the Grand Canal in Tullamore last Wednesday afternoon.

She was laid to rest yesterday.

The 31-year-old suspect was questioned about her murder by specialist detectives last night after his arrest about 11am at St James’s Hospital in Dublin yesterday.

The suspect was then brought by gardaí to Tullamore garda station where he was interviewed throughout the day and into the night.

The suspect had been living in Co Offaly for a number of years but has also lived abroad.

He was arrested when he was discharged from hospital yesterday morning after being treated for a number of “suspicious” injuries since he presented last Thursday evening.

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Gardai were alerted to his presence after his arrival at the facility, following an appeal by officers for all hospitals to contact them in the aftermath of the murder if they had suspicions about a patient’s injuries.

He had been under “discreet surveillance” by officers in the hospital and after five days of treatment he was finally discharged yesterday morning.

Senior sources said there had been a “strong expectation” that the suspect would be arrested on Monday but it was not until yesterday that he was deemed medically fit to be discharged.

His arrest happened at the hospital while the funeral of the 23-year-old primary teacher was taking place in her home village of Mountbolus, Co Offaly.

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Family members place their hands on the coffin as it is carried out of St Brigid’s Church, Mountbolus, Co Offaly, after the funeral of Ashling Murphy (Niall Carson/PA)

Family members place their hands on the coffin as it is carried out of St Brigid’s Church, Mountbolus, Co Offaly, after the funeral of Ashling Murphy (Niall Carson/PA)

Family members place their hands on the coffin as it is carried out of St Brigid’s Church, Mountbolus, Co Offaly, after the funeral of Ashling Murphy (Niall Carson/PA)

Attendees at the funeral included her heartbroken family and partner Ryan Casey, President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Micheal Martin.

This latest development in the investigation comes after it emerged that a second man has been arrested in connection with the murder.

The man, well-known to the chief suspect in the case, was arrested on suspicion of withholding information.

“An Garda Síochána have arrested a second male (30s) in connection with this investigation," they said in a statement this morning.

"This male is detained at a Garda Station in the Eastern Region under the provisions of Section 30 Offences Against the State Act 1939 as amended, being questioned in relation to potential withholding of information contrary to The Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act 1998."

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