The murdered woman has been named locally as 22-year-old Ashling Murphy, a primary school teacher in Tullamore
A post-mortem examination of a primary school teacher in Ireland has revealed she was strangled to death.
Ashling Murphy, 23, was killed on Wednesday afternoon along the banks of the Grand Cana in Tullamore, County Offaly.
Officers believe she put up a brave fight, but added that Ashling may have been stalked prior to her death.
A 40-year-old man had been arrested in connection with her murder but was released last night without charge after questioning.
The solicitor for the former suspect, Donal Farrelly, said it is now ‘quite clear this man had nothing to do with the incident and has been cleared of all allegations’.
A garda spokesperson said: ‘The male has been eliminated from Garda inquiries and is no longer a suspect.’
A source close to the investigation also said the former suspect was taken to safe accommodation after being released for his own safety, the Irish Examiner reported.
Meanwhile, gardai have again appealed for witnesses and asked anyone with information about a ‘Falcon Storm mountain bike’ with ‘straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks’ to come forward.
Officers earlier said they believe the killer acted alone and attacked the talented musician while she was jogging along the canal bank at Cappincur, known as Fiona’s Way, at around 4pm on Wednesday.
He fled after two women came across the attack and gardaí were quickly on the scene after a call from a member of the public.
Ms Murphy was still alive and they tried to give medical attention but she could not be saved.
Police investigating the murder have said ‘no stone will be left unturned’ in bringing her killer to justice.
Ms Murphy (pictured left and right) died after being attacked while she was jogging along the canal bank at Cappincur, known as Fiona’s Way, at around 4pm on Wednesday. The route is named in memory of missing woman Fiona Pender
Floral and candle tributes are placed at a vigil attended by hundreds in Galway city centre for Ashling
According to the Independent.ie, Ms Murphy came from a highly respected family in the local area that is well known in the music scene, and live outside Tullamore.
‘This area here, where the crime occurred, is popular among Tullamore residents and is widely used for recreational purposes,’ Superintendent Eamonn Curley told reporters on Thursday.
‘The victim of this crime is Ashling Murphy.
‘Ashling was a schoolteacher in Durrow National School. Our 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 today.
‘Immediately following the discovery of this crime, a full-scale murder investigation was launched.’
Ms Murphy came from a highly respected family in the local area that is well known in the music scene, and live outside Tullamore
Declan Harvey, Fianna Fail councillor for the area, said: ‘I want to extend my sympathies to Ashling’s father, mother and all her extended family.
‘I am devastated. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking of it all because it is a place I go all the time. She went there jogging, she does it regularly. I am lost for words.’
Mr Harvey said it is a route that he and his family often walk.
‘Tullamore is probably the safest place in the world, and after yesterday people will be nervous to go down to the canal,’ he added.
‘It’s a lovely area and helps clear your head. It’s a very popular route that everyone takes. People walk their dogs, people with their kids and prams.’
Police officers visited the school where Ms Murphy worked on Thursday morning to speak with staff and offer support.
At around 9.30am, a police water unit arrived at the scene to begin a search of the waterway next to where the attack occurred.
Superintendent Eamonn Curley (left) near to the scene in Tullamore, Co Offaly, after a young woman, who has been named locally as Ashling Murphy, was killed on Wednesday evening
Pictured: A map showing where Ms Murphy’s body was found along the Grand Canal way, also known as Fiona’s Way. The route is named in memory of missing woman Fiona Pender, of whom there is a monument to in Tullamore
Gardai carry out investigations at the Grand Canal at Cappincur on Thursday after the horrific killing
Police investigating the murder have said ‘no stone will be left unturned’ in bringing her killer to justice
Justice Minister Helen McEntee tweeted: ‘My thoughts tonight are with the family of the young woman killed in a truly shocking crime, with her friends and with her community.
‘Please, anyone with information, come forward to An Garda Siochana. The Gardai will investigate this awful crime and ensure justice is done.’
Further Education Minister Simon Harris said: ‘A young woman, simply out for a run in the afternoon and brutally killed.
‘Thinking of her and her family and community tonight and their unimaginable pain. We must all act to end violence against women. We all have a responsibility.’
Gardaí believe the killer acted alone and attacked the talented musician while she was jogging along the canal bank
Pictured: Flowers are left at a Garda checkpoint in Tullamore after a young woman, who has been named locally as Ashling Murphy, was killed in Co Offaly. She died after being attacked while she was jogging along the canal bank at Cappincur at around 4pm on Wednesday. Picture date: Thursday January 13, 2022
Superintendent Eamonn Curley speaks to the media near to the scene in Tullamore, Co Offaly
The canal path that Ms Murhpy was attacked on is named after Fiona Pender, a missing woman who was last seen at 6am on August 23, 1996, at her Tullamore flat.
Her disappearance has been the subject of an on-going investigation ever since.
Gardai are appealing for information, and asking anyone who was in the Cappincur/Canal walk area of Tullamore before 4pm on Wednesday to make contact with them.
Minister of State Josepha Madigan for Special Education and Inclusion said: ‘A young woman can’t even go for a run along a canal pathway – at four o’clock, in the middle of the day – only to be attacked and murdered.
‘Sincere sympathies to her family. We need to urgently address why we live in a country where this can happen.’