Speaking at a media briefing this morning, Superintendent Eamonn Curley of Tullamore Garda Station, said a 40-year-old man who was arrested as part of their investigation into the death of the 23-year-old woman in Co Offaly yesterday, remains in custody in Tullamore Garda Station.
Superintendent Curley revealed how gardaí from Tullamore Garda Station had rushed to the scene of an incident at the Grand Canal Way at Cappincur in Tullamore following a call from a member of the public shortly after 4pm.
“At the scene, gardaí discovered a young woman with serious injuries,” he said.
“Medical attention was provided but despite the efforts of the medical team who attended, this young lady passed away. The injuries we believe at this time are consistent with an assault.
“The incident occurred, as I said, on the Grand Canal way at Cappincur, but more specifically between Boland Lough and Digby’s bridge here behind me.
“This area here where the crime occurred is popular among Tullamore residents and is widely used for recreational purposes.”
Superintendent Curley confirmed that the victim is Ashling Murphy, “a 23-year-old local lady from the Blueball area of Tullamore”.
“Ashling was a school teacher in Durrow National School,” he added.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Ashling’s family at this time and indeed the wider community, her teaching colleagues and the children she taught who are without their teacher toady. Personnel from our family liaison unit are providing ongoing support to the family.”
Superintendent Curley said that a full-scale murder investigation had been immediately launched.
“The scene was sealed off and remains so where the Garda Technical Bureau are conducting a detailed forensic examination of the scene,” he added.
“The services of the state pathologist have been provided and the results of a post mortem examination are awaited.
“We have established an incident room at Tullamore Garda Station with a team of over 50 gardaí assigned to the investigation. Personnel from Nationalist Specialist Units including the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation have been assigned to the investigation.
"No stone will be left unturned in bringing the perpetrator of this crime to justice.”
He said that at this stage there is no information that the victim and her killer were known to each other, but from inquiries carried out to date, gardai believe “this crime was committed by one male who acted alone”.
“As part of our investigation to date we have arrested a 40-year-old male and this person is currently detained at Tullamore Garda Station,” he added.
“I would like to add that we continue to retain an open mind in this investigation and I would like to appeal to the public for their assistance in that regard.
“Firstly, I would like to thank the public for their cooperation and assistance so far, information received from the public to date has assisted us in reaching the current stage of our investigation.
“I would also like to appeal to anyone who has not yet come forward who was on the Grand Canal Way on Wednesday, January 12 between 3pm and 5pm.
"We would like to speak to you. We are appealing for witnesses who may have seen any person who was behaving unusual in that area.
“Any information you have however insignificant you may think it may be we need to hear from you. Were you on the Grand Canal way between 3pm and 5pm yesterday or have you any information about this incident.
"Please contact us at Tullamore Garda Station on 0579327600 or any indeed Garda station, or if you wish the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666111. I would like to reassure the public that all any information received will be treated in the strictest confidence.”
Meanwhile, a vigil for Ms Murphy is being staged outside Dail Eireann tomorrow from 4 to 5pm.
The National Women's Council of Ireland said there had been a huge outpouring of grief and support across Ireland for Ashling and her family as they announced details of the vigil that is taking place at the time she was killed.
“Ashling Murphy was killed yesterday when she was on a jog, in broad daylight," the council said.
“Tomorrow at 4pm, around the time Ashling was killed we will hold a vigil to remember Ashling and to support all who knew and loved her.
“Women must be safe in our homes and our communities. Join us and call for an end to men's violence against women. Please feel free to bring flowers or candles."