Vigils are to be held in Ireland following the “sensible” killing of a 23-year-old teacher, echoing the national accounts unleashed in Britain last year by the murder of Sarah Everard.
Ashling Murphy was killed Wednesday afternoon as she went for a run along the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly.
The killing has provoked an outpouring of grief on the island of Ireland and beyond, as well as anger and disgust at another young woman who was allegedly murdered while in public business.
Irish police had arrested and detained a man, but he has since been released. “This man has been eliminated from Garda investigations and is no longer a suspect,” a spokesman for Garda Síochána told Irish News. Police promised to leave “no stone unturned” to bring the killer to justice.
Murphy was a teacher at Durrow National School and a musician. Her father, Raymond, told the Mirror: “She was just a special girl. She is the youngest, a little angel. She was an ingenious girl in every sense of the word.”
Rallies and guards will be held across Ireland and the UK over the weekend, including in Dublin, Limerick, Belfast, Derry and London, where thousands are expected to take part. Senior politicians expressed their alarm and solidarity.
In London, a vigil will be held at the London Irish Center in Camden Town on Saturday at 4pm.
“My thoughts tonight are with the family of the young woman who was killed in a truly shocking crime, with her friends and with her community,” tweeted Helen McEntee, Ireland’s justice minister. “Gardaí will investigate this heinous crime and ensure that justice is done.”
“The whole country is shocked and devastated by the horrific murder of … Ashling Murphy while he was out running. Her family, friends, colleagues and the children she taught are in our thoughts this morning,” said Michelle O ‘ Neill, Stormont’s deputy prime minister, on Twitter. “Violence against women and girls must be stopped.”
Murphy’s mother, Kathleen, told the Mirror: “The last thing she would say in the morning when she went out was ‘mother, I love you’.”
The killing follows Wayne Couzen’s conviction for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Everard, a 33-year-old marketing manager, when she went home in March last year. Couzens, who at the time of the crime was a serving police officer in the Metropolitan, was sentenced to life in prison.
Last month, Koci Selamaj claimed responsibility for the death of 28-year-old schoolteacher Sabina Nessa in London in September. She was found dead one day after leaving her home to meet a friend at a nearby bar. Selamaj pleaded not guilty to the murder and the trial continues.
“There must be zero tolerance for any form of violence against women,” tweeted Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister. “Really destructive and pointless. Every effort is being made to ensure that justice is served.”
“It’s scary that news has surfaced about another woman who has been brutally murdered here on our island,” said Nichola Mallon, SDLP deputy director and Stormont’s infrastructure minister. “That’s why women across our island do not feel safe.”
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