Murder police probe whether Ashling Murphy killer stalked victims along canal

·3-min read

Police investigating the murder of Ashling Murphy are working on a theory her killer had been stalking potential victims along a canal in the 24 hours before her death.

The line of inquiry comes after reports of a man on a bike acting suspiciously in the area her body was found in the Irish town of Tullamore.

Ms Murphy, 23, was killed while jogging along the Grand Canal which runs through the town.

Watch: Vigils held for Ashling Murphy as murder investigation continues

A woman in her 40s also reported that she was approached by a man on a bicycle just two hours before Ms Murphy was murdered on the canal bank on Wednesday afternoon.

A source old the Sun: “It’s very concerning that Ashling’s killer could have been in the same area trying to identify other innocent women.

“This was a random and barbaric attack on a young woman who had her whole life ahead of her.”

Ashling Murphy (.)
Ashling Murphy (.)

A police spokesperson told the newspaper: “We have received a lot of information from the public since the fatal assault on Ashling Murphy at 4pm on Wednesday, January 12.

“All of that information needs to be checked and cross-checked to see if it is relevant to the ongoing investigation.

“We’re still encouraging people to come forward with information and we will decide how relevant it is.

“We would like to thank the members of the public who have already come forward with some information.”

Police are waiting to interview a suspect who turned up at a hospital in Dublin with facial injuries and was last night still undergoing treatment.

He lives outside of Tullamore close to the murder scene.

Officers from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation searched the south Dublin pad on Friday night and seized several items of clothing which forensic experts are testing for DNA.

Once doctors give the go ahead police will quiz the man.

Detectives are also continuing to trawl through CCTV images in a bid to piece together the suspect’s movements.

A vigil for the young teacher in Camden (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA)
A vigil for the young teacher in Camden (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA)

Meanwhile Londoners held candles and stood in silent tribute outside the capital’s Irish Centre to remember Ashling, while large numbers queued in Camden Square to sign a book of condolence and lay flowers.

Traditional music was played in honour of the teacher, a talented fiddle player, while the crowd quietly sang or hummed along.

Anna Johnston, cultural officer at the London Irish Centre, said ­people there had come together in solidarity with those who knew and loved Ashling “and all the women of Ireland and further afield who are angry, distressed and heartbroken”.

Addressing the crowd, she added: “Today, along with Ashling, we remember all the women who have had their lives stolen through gender-based violence.

“We shouldn’t be here, and Ashling should be.”

A minute’s silence was held, after which the young teacher’s favourite song, When You Were Sweet Sixteen, was sung.

Her father Raymond Murphy had tearfully played the tune on the banjo in tribute to his youngest daughter at a vigil on Friday near the scene of her murder.

Anyone with information on the killing is asked to call 057 935706.

Watch: Vigils held across island of Ireland in memory of Ashling Murphy