The murder of Ashling Murphy in Tullamore is “incomprehensible and tragic”, her former Religious Education teacher has said.
Fr Michael Wall, chaplain in Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, where Ms Murphy studied to become a teacher, told The Irish Catholic she was an “excellent student” and “a great musician”.
“She was teaching music at home. She prepared loads of kids for Comhaltas and was an accomplished camogie player as well,” he said.
Gardaí are “urgently” seeking witnesses who saw the 22-year-old teacher and her killer before the attack, which took place yesterday (January 12) at about 4pm.
Ms Murphy had been jogging along the Grand Canal on a stretch known as Fiona’s Way – named after Fiona Pender who went missing – when she was attacked.
A 40-year-old man is in custody.
Fr Wall added: “This whole thing is absolutely incomprehensible and tragic. Everyone is totally numbed and shocked. Your heart would really have to go out to her family and her classmates, this is horrendous for them.”
Superintendent Eamonn Curley of Tullamore Garda Station appealed for anyone who has not yet come forward who was at Grand Canal Way on Wednesday between 3-5pm.
He said: “We are appealing for witnesses who may have seen any person who was behaving unusual in that area. Any information you have however insignificant you may think it may be we need to hear from you.
“Please contact us at Tullamore Garda Station on 0579327600 or any indeed Garda Station, or if you wish the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666111. I would like to reassure the public that all any information received will be treated in the strictest confidence.”
He added that the incident occurred specifically between Boland Lough and Digby’s bridge and the area where the crime occurred is popular among Tullamore residents and is widely used for recreational purposes.
“Aisling was a school teacher in Durrow National School. Our thoughts and prayers are with Aisling’s family at this time and indeed the wider community, her teaching colleagues and the children she thought who are without their teacher today. Personnel from our family liaison unit are providing ongoing support to the family,” Superintendent Curley said.
“Immediately following the discovery of this crime a full-scale murder investigation was launched. The scene was sealed off and remains so where the Garda Technical Bureau are conducting a detailed forensic examination of the scene. The services of the state pathologist have been provided and the results of a post mortem examination are awaited.”