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19 Jan 2022

House in Offaly searched as new suspect emerges in Ashling Murphy murder probe

House in Offaly searched as new suspect emerges in Ashling Murphy murder probe

Flowers and candles at Digby Bridge, Cappincur, close to the crime scene

GARDAI investigating the murder of Offaly schoolteacher Ashling Murphy were continuing to examine a house in the county this afternoon.

Specialist officers remained at the residence carrying out an intensive search while at the same time, it is understood a property in Dublin was also entered for a similar purpose.

The moves came as a line of enquiry involving a new suspect was being vigorously pursued.

Gardai believe a bicycle and a male cyclist are critical to making a breakthrough in an investigation which took a significant turn once the former suspect, 39-year-old Tullamore man Radu Floricel, was released on Thursday night.

He has been eliminated from the investigation but he told the Tullamore Tribune on Thursday he remains concerned that his name has not been completely cleared in the minds of the public.

It is understood the new suspect has been undergoing hospital treatment and it is not yet known when he will be formally interviewed.

Images from CCTV of a man on a bicycle, apparently on streets in the town of Tullamore, have been scrutinised closely be gardai.

Those images were circulated widely on social messaging apps in the last couple of days.

In a statement on Friday, An Garda Siochana said “significant progress” had been made in the investigation.

The gardai were not confirming any specific details for operational reasons but renewed the appeal for any information on a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks (see image below).

They appealed to anyone who was in the Cappincur/Grand Canal walk area of Tullamore, before 4pm on Wednesday, January 12, to make contact with them and also asked any motorists who were in Tullamore town centre or the wider approach roads and had any former of video footage (dashcam, CCTV, mobile phone, GoPro Cam etc) to make contact with them.

An Garda Siochana said they continue to support Ashling's family at this time and said the Murphy family are appreciative and overwhelmed by the national outpouring of support shown to them.

Numerous vigils were held across the county, country and internationally on Friday and Saturday to show solidarity with the family of the 23-year-old primary teacher, musician and sportswoman.

There were emotional scenes on Friday evening in the Murphy family home parish of Mountbolus when family members joined the Ballyboy Comhaltas trad group for a performance at a vigil, and also at Cappincur, Tullamore, close to the crime scene, where Ashling's father Ray played the banjo during a rendition of her favourite song, 'Sweet Sixteen'.

A vigil took place near the Irish Centre, Camden, London, in Meadows Park, Edinburgh, and another is planned for Vancouver, Canada tomorrow.

Tullamore Roman Catholic parish published a special message in memory of Ashling Murphy in this weekend's bulletin.

“We remember Ashling Murphy, who has been so tragically taken from us. We remember her broken-hearted family, her pupils in Durrow school, her colleagues and friends. The shock and sorrow is beyond words. We remember them in our prayers,” the bulletin said.

Ashling lived at Blueball, Tullamore, in the parish of Kilcormac Killoughey, and worked as a teacher in Durrow National School, in the parish of Tullamore.

She was exercising on the Grand Canal bank in Tullamore after school on Wednesday when she was brutally murdered.

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