A man in his 30s has been arrested on suspicion of murdering 23-year-old Ashling Murphy.
Murphy was found dead in Ireland last week after she was attacked while on a run along the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly, at around 4.00pm on Wednesday, January 12.
The funeral for the schoolteacher took place today, January 18, with mourners at St Brigid’s Church in Mountbolus remembering the talented young woman as someone who ‘made a difference, who brought happiness and who was loved’.
Gardaí arrested the man in his 30s shortly after 11.00am today while Murphy’s funeral was taking place, and he is now being held at the Tullamore Garda Station where he will be interviewed by specialist officers.
The arrest comes after a man in his 40s was released and deemed ‘no longer a suspect’ shortly after Murphy was found.
According to Belfast Live, gardaí also began examining two cars they seized this week in connection to the man who has been arrested.
Prior to his arrest, the man was being treated at a hospital in Dublin for ‘self-inflicted wounds’. Officers reportedly believe the man was given a lift from Tullamore in Offaly to Dublin on the day Murphy was found dead, and they plan to forensically examine his vehicles over the coming days.
A source cited by Belfast Live said: ‘There has been a hive of activity in relation to the investigation as gardai wait to question the new suspect and there has been huge progression since this murder on Wednesday.’
Thousands of people paid tribute to Murphy in vigils held across Ireland and the UK over the last week, while bishop Tom Deenihan told mourners today that the 23-year-old was ‘a woman who lived the short years given to her to the full, who developed her talents, who reached out to others, who made a difference, who brought happiness and who was loved’.
Father Michael Meade, who also spoke at Murphy’s funeral, said her parents, siblings and boyfriend had ‘been robbed of your most precious gift – a gift that gave only joy and love, fun and laughter to many beyond your family’.
Students at the school where Murphy taught formed a guard of honour in tribute to the teacher’s death, Sky News reports, while schools across Ireland observed a moment’s silence at 11.00am.
Gardaí have previously assured ‘no stone will be left unturned’ in the investigation into Murphy’s death.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677