Dad in his 30s arrested for Ashling Murphy’s murder as second man in custody

Ashling Murphy, 23, was attacked while exercising beside a canal last Wednesday (Picture: PA)

A second man has been arrested in connection to the murder of Ashling Murphy, 23, after a dad in his 30s was taken into custody yesterday.

The primary school teacher’s body was found on the banks of a canal after she went for a jog last Wednesday.

She may have tried to fight off her attacker with a set of keys before being killed in Tullamore, police believe.

The second man was detained in the eastern part of Ireland for questioning in relation to potential withholding of information, police announced today

It comes after the dad was arrested on suspicion of murder at St James’ Hospital in Dublin on Tuesday.

The man, reportedly from Slovakia, is said to have been first identified as a suspect last Thursday. 

He was brought to hospital around the same time with hand, facial and other injuries, The Sun reports.

It’s understood he told medics he had been stabbed in an attack in west Dublin – but cops are said to be probing whether some of the injuries were self-inflicted, it’s claimed.

The relative who brought him to the hospital is said to have called police to tell them where he was.

He was seen leaving with police through the back entrance of the site in handcuffs around 11.30am yesterday morning.

A ‘depraved act of violence took Ashling’s life’, those who gathered for her funeral were told
Pupils from Ashling Murphy’s class hold photographs of her and red roses outside St Brigid’s Church (Picture: PA)

One onlooker told The Sun: ‘He was taken out the back of a building where there is a lot of work going on. It was a bit strange to see a man being led in handcuffs from the rear of the building.

‘He was led to the police car in a matter of seconds and then he was away.’

British officers are believed to be working with colleagues at Europol and Eastern Europe to investigate.

Those arrested can only be held 24 hours, so a decision on whether to charge or release the suspect is expected to be made public soon.

A source said the murder probe had ‘already made great progress’ and ‘a lot of evidence has already been gathered’.

But, despite the ‘significant developments, there is still a lot of work to do’, they added.

The case has sent shockwaves around the community, with calls for more action to be taken over violence against women.

Ashling has been described by her heartbroken boyfriend as an ‘incredible, loving and beautiful person we were all so lucky to know’.

Ryan Casey said: ‘Ashling was so much more to me than a girlfriend, she was my soulmate, she is my soulmate, she will always be my soulmate.

‘She is the greatest love of my life. I will cherish the last five years we spent together my entire life.’

Candles are pictured after a vigil in memory of Aisling Murphy in Tullamore town Park (Picture: PA)

Young children taught by the young woman held up photographs of her as they formed a touching guard of honour at the memorial service yesterday.

The Irish president, Michael D Higgins, the taoiseach, Micheál Martin, and the justice minister, Helen McEntee, attended alongside Ashling’s parents, her siblings and Ryan.

Mourners were told a ‘depraved act of violence had taken the life’ of the talented musician.

Tom Deenihan, the bishop of Meath, said nobody should die like she did and ‘no family like Ashling’s should suffer as they do now’.

Tens of thousands of people across Ireland have also attended vigils to honour the young teacher over the past few days.

In the wake of the tragedy, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has warned there is a culture that has created an epidemic of attacks on women.

He said: ‘This is something that men and women alike need to combat together. And I think for men in particular, we need to make sure that we understand, and that we teach our boys that violence against women is never justified.

‘It doesn’t matter who she is, it doesn’t matter where it was, it doesn’t matter what time of day it is. It’s never justified. It’s always wrong.’

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