Ashling Murphy family heartbroken as nation mourns ‘angel teacher’ and vows ‘no stone will go unturned’ in murder investigation

TRIBUTES blames a young teacher who was brutally murdered while jogging along a canal – with a vigil outside Dail among several planned for Friday.

Ashling Murphy, 23, died after suffering ferocious attack along a canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly, on Wednesday afternoon.

Ashling Murphy is a talented musician


Ashling Murphy is a talented musicianCredit: PA: Press Association
Tragic Ashling was jogging outside when she was attacked


Tragic Ashling was jogging outside when she was attackedCredit:
People place flowers near the scene in Tullamore, Co Offaly


People place flowers near the scene in Tullamore, Co OffalyCredit: PA

It is supposed to be a random attack.

Principal James Hogan of Durrow National School said the first grade teacher was a “lightning ray,” adding: “She’s one in a million.”

Police on Thursday night release a man they questioned her about her death and said he was no longer considered a suspect.

An autopsy showed that the victim died of strangulation. The officers believe she fought bravely.

Officers also suspect that Ashling was being followed before she was murdered.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, who arrived in Tullamore on Thursday, told investigating officers that all of An Garda Siochana’s resources were available to them.

Most read in The Irish Sun

He said: “I want to reassure people that this is a safe society, despite the terrible events of yesterday and despite the fear and anxiety, the real fear and anxiety there is. , this is a safe society, these events are relatively rare.

“I think that’s seen in our overall response to this as a society.”

Late on Thursday, Mr. gardai confirmed the man they questioned had been released.

They again appealed for information about a Falcon Storm mountain bike and for anyone with information about the deadly attack to proceed.

A spokesman said: “The man arrested and detained by An Garda Síochána to investigate this fatal assault has now been released. This man has been removed from Garda’s investigations and is no longer a suspect.

“A Garda Síochána continues to investigate this deadly attack that occurred around 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, along the banks of the canal in Cappincur, Tullamore, Co Offaly.

“A Garda Síochána continues to clamor for any information about a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/blue front forks.

“Gardaí continues to urge anyone with any information about this deadly attack to come forward with that information.”

Ashling was previously described as a “teacher’s angel” as locals tried to investigate her shocking murder.

The 23-year-old was brutally killed while jogging along the canal in Cappincur, just outside Tullamore, Co Offaly, on Wednesday afternoon.

Parents Ray and Kathleen, along with siblings Cathal and Amy, were comforted by friends and family.


Ashling’s death certificate said she was “deeply saddened by her heartbreaking family”.

Ashling – a famous fiddle player who recently played the game of uilleann – had only left Durrow National School, where she teaches freshmen, just an hour before being murdered.

Staff and students are receiving grief advice from specialist psychiatrists as they try to process her brutal death.

Principal James Hogan told the Irish Sun that people were just “numb with shock”.

He said: “To receive any tragic news like this about an employee being attacked and killed, is appalling.

“The staff, parents and students here at Durrow National School and the wider community – we are devastated. And we were just numb and shocked.

“Ashling Murphy is a dear friend and colleague. I also know her as principal on a personal level through traditional Irish music – I grew up playing traditional Irish music.


“She is a wonderful individual, a wonderful teacher. She had a wonderful light on her. When she entered the school, (you saw) her positive personality, her attitude, her smile.

“She is currently teaching first grade and they idolize her. The kids are just heartbroken nothing more and nothing less than the staff. And there are tears of grief here today. We will miss her so much, she is a huge loss.

“On behalf of ourselves and the leadership, we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to her family, whom I also know personally at this time.

“Words cannot describe how they came to terms with and deal with this tragic situation.”

And Frank Kelly, who recently retired as principal of Durrow National School, says Ashling is a “teacher’s angel”.

He added: “The teachers were all at 8am and tears fell. Tears are pouring out and spreading but joy is also coming in waves as we remember the joy Ashling has brought.


“It’s been a privilege to be in her classroom – you’ll see the kids cling to her every word.”

Officials from the National Teachers’ Organization of Ireland visited the school to speak to staff, with on-site help for children and staff.

“From the school’s point of view, we have a serious incident policy that we follow,” Mr. Hogan explains. We met this morning as an employee at 8am.

“We have a professional psychiatrist on site – we have a plan. Our priority today is taking care of our staff and students.

“And we are overwhelmed with letters, messages of goodwill, support from other schools in the area, across the country, from the Minister of Education – everyone is reaching out.

“It’s very comfortable but obviously very devastating.”


Tragedy Ashling started teaching at Durrow National School last March and only became permanent in September – three months after finishing her training.

Educator known in traditional Irish music circles and also played camogie at the county level in Offaly.

Mr. Hogan added: “Ashling is a huge addition to our school, she has only been here since March 2021. An extraordinary, talented athlete, Irish traditional musician, choir leader and has so much more to offer that she can’t do because Covid has regulations.

“And we are saddened to think that this girl came to the school we teach here yesterday. She was out exercising as usual, a beautiful, healthy young woman, jogging and walking into class this morning, and knowing she wasn’t there was devastating.”

There was a shrine set up for the inspirational teacher just inside the school gates this morning and another at the front gate, while flags were also hoisted at half-mast.


Continuing his tribute, the principal added: “Ashling is a dedicated teacher. She comes here first in the morning and finally leaves in the evening.

“She was very organized, she always was. She gave 110% to whatever she put her mind to.

“Whenever we chat, you always have a lovely conversation, whether it’s school related or not.

“She had so much to herself, she was very positive, forward-looking and now to think that it’s all taken away from her, it’s horrible.”

Speaking of the children she has taught, Mr. Hogan insists she will always be a part of their classroom.

“She has a great relationship with the kids, whether it’s teaching them music or anything extra-curricular,” he explains. She inspired and motivated them.

“I’ll give you a scenario – kids being kids are amazing, and the support from the board, everyone, has been amazing.

“The kids reflected, and there were three current teachers in the room and one kid just talked and said ‘we have four teachers in the room, three current teachers and Ms. Murphy’.


“We have a little shrine set up in the room, and that will tell you how much they miss her, she will never go away from their minds. It will be an extremely long road.

“We will miss her dearly and our hearts go out to her family at this shocking time.”

Local TD Barry Cowen said The whole country was “stunned and paralyzed” by senseless killing.

He added: “To be done in such a way in a location that has been loved by everyone locally and has improved in recent years.

“We all went through it, we all really felt safe but for this to happen there was a sense of horror and fear. We hope we can get through this, and we hope the family can get help through this terrible tragedy. It’s really shocking. ”


Taoiseach Michael Martin previously paid tribute to Ashling and her family.

He said: “This is shocking news, the murder of Ashling Murphy is extremely gruesome and violent.

“My heart goes out to her parents, her family, the children she raised and the wider community.

“She has not wasted a minute of her life, a musician, a teacher.

“One can only think what is going on in the minds of the children she taught every day and what they are thinking today about what happened.” Wise men came to the scene and left flowers in memory of the dead woman.

Gardai on Thursday spoke to locals and officers from the Sub-Aqua Unit who conducted a search for the channel.

Supt Eamonn Curley said “no stone will be missed” in bringing Ashling’s killer to justice.

He added: “From the investigations we have carried out so far, we believe this crime was committed by one man acting alone.”

Contact Tullamore Garda Station on 057 932 7600 with any information.

Director Eamonn Curley near the scene in Tullamore, Co Offaly


Director Eamonn Curley near the scene in Tullamore, Co OffalyCredit: PA
Murdered teacher Ashling Murphy has ‘inspired and motivated’ her young pupils, heartbroken principal at her school says Ashling Murphy family heartbroken as nation mourns ‘angel teacher’ and vows ‘no stone will go unturned’ in murder investigation

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