Court appearance | 

Suspect in murder of Ashling Murphy charged and due to appear in court

Photo shows 31-year-old suspect arriving at Tullamore Garda Station shortly before 1pm yesterday

A male is brought into Garda custody at Tullamore Garda station (Photo: Mark Condren)

Ken Foy and Robin Schiller

The chief suspect in the murder of Ashling Murphy has been charged at Tullamore Garda Station in connection with her murder and is due to appear in court this evening.

Our exclusive photo shows the 31-year-old suspect arriving at Tullamore Garda Station shortly before 1pm yesterday.

The 31-year-old father of a number of young children is wearing a grey hoodie and grey tracksuit bottoms with his face covered with a face mask.

He was escorted by gardaí into the back of the station where he was processed before being questioned.

A senior garda gave approval to take the man’s fingerprints, palm prints and DNA before formal questioning began by teams of local detectives and officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (NBCI).

He had been brought to Tullamore Garda Station after his arrest at St James’ Hospital in Dublin where he had been treated for injuries since last Thursday.

In a statement this evening, the gardaí said: “Gardaí investigating the fatal assault on Ashling Murphy on Wednesday 12th January 2022 have charged the man, aged in his 30s, who was arrested yesterday, Tuesday 18th January 2022.

“He is due to appear before a special sitting of Tullamore District Court this evening, Wednesday 19th January 2022 at 8.15pm.”

He was held under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 and underwent a series of interviews with specialist detectives who gave him an opportunity to account for his movements last Wednesday, the day that Ashling was murdered.

He was arrested when he was medically discharged from hospital yesterday morning after being treated there since last Thursday evening.

Gardaí were alerted to his presence after he presented at the facility with the injuries 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.

A second man, well-known to the chief suspect of the Ashling Murphy murder investigation, has been arrested on suspicion on withholding information.

The second male is was being 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.

Tonight’s statement said: “The second male arrested under the provisions of Section 30 Offences Against the State Act 1939 has been released without charge from Garda custody and a file will be prepared for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

Since Ashling was murdered last Wednesday officers have gathered large amounts of forensic evidence, CCTV and witness statements which they believe link the suspect to the murder.

It is understood that among the key evidence is forensic evidence which was gathered from a Falcon Storm mountain bike abandoned at the crime scene.

A property linked to the suspect near Tullamore was sealed off at the weekend and searched by gardaí.

Another house in Crumlin in south Dublin, which he is understood to have visited last week, was sealed off and searched by gardai on Friday.

Officers have spoken to a number of family members and close associates of the suspect.

Gardai believe that the suspect was in the Grand Canal area for a number of hours before Ashling was murdered and the murder is still classified as a “random attack.”

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