PROPERTIES in Dublin and Offaly have been searched as part of the gardaí investigation into the murder of Ashling Murphy.
The Irish Independent understands the hunt for the schoolteacher’s killer has intensified tonight with officers now searching for evidence in two counties.
Gardaí have sought to gather evidence from a house on the southside of Dublin and another outside of Tullamore.
It comes after a new suspect for the murder was identified.
The man is currently being treated at a hospital but is understood to be under surveillance by gardaí.
He is not in any way linked to the innocent man who arrested shortly after Ashling’s body was discovered along a popular canal walk in Tullamore on Wednesday.
Gardaí hope to speak to the new person of interest very soon, a source said.
It comes after a man who was wrongly arrested was released late last night. He has gone into hiding for his own safety.
The 40-year-old was set free after detectives concluded he had been mistakenly identified as the person who attacked the young woman while she was out for a run.
It is understood he continually denied any involvement in her death while in garda custody.
However, his name and image were widely circulated on social media and in messaging apps.
After his release last night, the man was brought to safe accommodation.
Speaking to the Irish Independent today, his solicitor Donal Farrelly said the man’s life has been “unbearable” after he was identified online.
Mr Farrelly, of Donal Farrelly & Co Solicitors, also said that people can’t lose sight of what happened to Ashling Murphy but that his client was wrongly “vilified” by people.
“Doesn’t this show the vital importance of the presumption of innocence.
“This is the most important thing to come out of this, and we have to keep that in our focus.
“It is a terrible tragedy what happened to this lady, what happened to her and her family, but this man has been vilified on social media.
“Absolutely vilified, and everybody clearly identified who he was on social media.”
He added: “It has made life unbearable for him I would say.
“It is dreadful- the amount of hurt, and anger, and ire about him on social media is frightening.”
In a statement issued just before 11pm last night, Gardaí confirmed the man “has been eliminated” from their enquiries and “is no longer a suspect”.
It is understood that evidence gathered by detectives was sent to Forensic Science Ireland and found no link to the man.
The shock development came after officers had earlier stated that they were only looking for one individual in relation to the attack.
This morning, gardaí issued another urgent appeal for information on a bike of interest to their investigation.
The bike is a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/green front forks.
They are also 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.
Gardaí have said that the 23-year-old woman was most likely the victim of a random attack at the hands of a person unknown to her.
Gardaí have appealed for members of the public to come forward with information in relation the murder which has stunned the country.
It is understood that a post-mortem which took place on Thursday showed the popular musician died by strangulation.
Two women witnessed part of the attack which took place along a popular jogging route in Tullamore.
Detectives believe that other people out walking may have seen Ms Murphy or her attacker in the area around 4pm on Wednesday.
The stretch of walkway along the Grand Canal is known locally as Fiona’s Way, in memory of Fiona Pender who disappeared from the town more than 25 year ago.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris visited Tullamore garda station just hours before a decision was taken to release the former suspect.
He told officers that whatever resources were required for the investigation would be provided.
He attempted to reassure people that such crimes are “relatively rare” in Irish society.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee described the murder as “absolutely devastating”.
"I say this is every woman's worst nightmare because while we shouldn't, women do take precautions and it is unfortunately the case that women don't always feel safe.
"Ashling went out for a run in broad daylight, she went to an area that was populated, she went to an area that we have heard from so many locally, people felt safe in.
"Yet, this has happened to her, this is why it is every woman's worst nightmare,” she said.
"More generally, the issue that we now face around women feeling safe, we need to make sure we listen to this and we take all of this on board, that as a society we come together to deal with this issue."
Gardaí have appealed for anybody with information who may not already have spoken to investigators to now come forward.
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.