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Powerful moment as Ashling Murphy’s heartbroken family join vigil along Tullamore canal bank

  • Father Ray played ‘When You Were Sweet Sixteen’ in tribute to daughter

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Ashling Murphy's parents Kathleen and Raymond with her sister Amy at the vigil which took place at the entrance to Fiona's Way on the bank of the Grand Canal, Cappincur, Tullamore, leading to the scene where Ashling was murdered. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Ashling Murphy's parents Kathleen and Raymond with her sister Amy at the vigil which took place at the entrance to Fiona's Way on the bank of the Grand Canal, Cappincur, Tullamore, leading to the scene where Ashling was murdered. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Ashling Murphy on her graduation day with (from left) mother Kathleen, brother Cathal, father Raymond and sister Amy

Ashling Murphy on her graduation day with (from left) mother Kathleen, brother Cathal, father Raymond and sister Amy

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Ashling Murphy's parents Kathleen and Raymond with her sister Amy at the vigil which took place at the entrance to Fiona's Way on the bank of the Grand Canal, Cappincur, Tullamore, leading to the scene where Ashling was murdered. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Ashling Murphy’s heartbroken family linked arms in grief and wept this evening as they walked along the canal route that led her to her death.

In emotional scenes during a vigil Grand Canal Walk in Tullamore, Ashling’s parents Ray and Kathleen, her brother Cathal and sister Amy were joined by her boyfriend Ryan as they solemnly retraced her final steps.

While the section of the path between Boland Lough and Digby’s bridge is still cordoned off as a crime scene, the small group was accompanied by garda liaison officers along the green pathway on the opposite side of the canal. As they looked across at the forensic tent surrounding the point where Ashling was killed, they huddled together and wept.

Crowds gathered at the bridge to pay their respect, then formed a guard of honour as the family returned and made their way to the canal back were a candle-light vigil was held.

In a touching tribute to his youngest daughter, Ray Murphy, a well-known musician in Co Offaly, played the banjo as his bandmates from Best Foot Forward performed Ashling’s favourite song When You Were Sweet Sixteen.

As her father broke down in tears playing the final chords to the well-known song, his wife Kathleen and daughter Amy were comforted by family. As the women wailed out in grief, a Chinese lantern passed overhead, sailing off in the direction of where Ashling‘s remains were found on Wednesday.

In a statement issued by gardaí this evening, the family said they were “overwhelmed by the national outpouring of support shown to them”.

Gardaí said that the Murphy family are appreciative of the support.

The family have requested that they now need “privacy, space and time to process Ashling's death”. An Garda Síochána continue to support Ashling's family at this time.

Significant progress has been made in the investigation into Ms Murphy’s death, the garda statement said, but added they would not confirm any specific details for “operational reasons”.

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“An Garda Síochána wishes to acknowledge the support of the public to date and in order to assist the public in providing information to the investigation team, a dedicated phone line 057 9357060 has been established at Tullamore Garda station.”

Gardaí continued to appeal to any person who has not made contact with the investigation team and who has any information on this fatal assault to come forward.

"An Garda Síochána continues to appeal for any information on a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/ green front forks prior to 4pm on Wednesday, January 12 and in the previous days and weeks,” a spokesperson said.

Gardaí continue to appeal to any persons that were in the Cappincur/Canal walk area of Tullamore, Co Offaly before 4pm, Wednesday, January 12, to make contact with them.

They also continue to appeal to any person in and between the Tullamore town centre area and the wider approach roads to The Grand Canal Way in the vicinity of Capincur on January 12, with any form of video footage (Dashcam, CCTV, Mobile phone, GoPro Cam), to contact them.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Tullamore Garda Station on 057 9357060, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.


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