Updated at 9.25am
A man arrested in connection with the suspected murder of a young woman in Co Offaly is to face further questioning.
As reported in The Irish Times, the victim, who was from just outside Tullamore and aged 23, had been out jogging when she was fatally attacked on Wednesday afternoon. She was named locally as Ashling Murphy.
It is understood that another woman arrived on the scene and disturbed the attacker, with a second woman also arriving almost immediately.
Although emergency services were alerted and arrived quickly, Ms Murphy was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ms Murphy was well known in Tullamore as she worked as a primary school teacher and was also involved in the arts.
National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) counsellors will come to the school where she worked this morning.
A man, aged in his 40s, was arrested by local gardaí on Wednesday evening. He was being detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows for him to be interviewed for up to 24 hours without charge.
It is understood that the man who was arrested lives in the Tullamore area but is not originally from the area.
An incident room has been established at Tullamore Garda Station under a Senior Investigating Officer.
One line of inquiry being considered was that the fatal assault was random, with there being no link between the attacker and the victim. However, the investigation is at an early stage.
Gardaí are appealing for anyone with information on this fatal assault to come forward.
In particular Gardaí are appealing to anyone who was in the Cappincur/Canal walk area of Tullamore, County Offaly before 4pm on Wednesday, 12th January 2022, to make contact with them.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Tullamore Garda station on 057 932 7600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda station.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee expressed her shock at the killing, urging anyone with information that could help solve the crime to come forward immediately.
“My thoughts tonight are with the family of the young woman killed in a truly shocking crime, with her friends and with her community,” she tweeted.
“Please anyone with information, come forward to An Garda Síochána. The gardaí will investigate this awful crime and ensure justice is done.”
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 Síochána. The Gardai will investigate this awful crime and ensure justice is done.
— Helen McEntee TD (@HMcEntee) January 12, 2022
Declan Harvey, Fianna Fáil 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.”
Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowan, who represents Laois-Offaly, said the community was in shock.
“Our locality, like the whole country is stunned and numbed,” he said.
“Thoughts, prayers with her family, friends, colleagues and community.”
Our locality like the whole country is stunned and numbed. Thoughts, prayers with her family, friends, colleagues and community.
— Barry Cowen (@CowenBarry) January 13, 2022
Minister of State with responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan also expressed her sympathies online.
“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,” she tweeted.
“Sincere sympathies to her family. We need to urgently address why we live in a country where this can happen.”
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 & murdered 😰Sincere sympathies to her family. We need to urgently address why we live in a country where this can happen!
— Josepha Madigan ⚖️✨ (@josephamadigan) January 12, 2022
- Additional reporting by PA