Thousands gathered in the town of Tullamore in Ireland when a guard was held for Ashling Murphy.
Other memorials were also held across Ireland following the “sensible” killing of the 23-year-old teacher, echoing the national accounts triggered in Britain last year by the murder of Sarah Everard.
Murphy was killed Wednesday afternoon as he went for a run along the banks of the Grand Canal in the town of County Offaly.
The killing has provoked a stream of grief inside and outside Ireland, as well as anger and disgust at another young woman who was allegedly murdered while in public business.
Irish police had arrested and detained a man, but he has since been released. “This man has been eliminated from Garda investigations and is no longer a suspect,” a spokesman for Garda Síochána told Irish News. Police promised to leave “no stone unturned” to bring the killer to justice.
Murphy was a teacher at Durrow National School and a musician. Her father, Ray, told the Mirror: “She was just a special girl. She is the youngest, a little angel. She was an ingenious girl in every sense of the word.”
Friday night, thousands of people marched to Town Park on the outskirts of Tullamore, promising to send “solidarity and support” to Murphy’s family. During the hour-long shift, people cried, grabbed candles and clapped quietly while praying and playing music. As the light dimmed, traditional Irish music – played by Murphy’s friends and former teachers – formed the center of the service.
Attracta Brady, who taught the Murphy violin, played alongside other gloomy artists. She described her protégé as a “fabulous musician”.
“She was the most beautiful girl inside and out,” Brady said. “She was a parent’s dream. She was everything you would want in a daughter. She had integrity, she was honest, she was trustworthy. She was quirky and a little naughty sometimes with the nicest smile, and she would get away with it because she had that beautiful twinkling smile. “
Ray Murphy and Ashling’s mother, sister and brother – Kathleen, Amy and Cathal – clasped their arms as they attended a separate candlelight vigil later in the evening near the place where the teacher was killed. As a tribute to his daughter, Ray Murphy played his favorite song, When You Were Sweet Sixteen, on the banjo.
Events also took place in Belfast, Dublin and other cities across the island of Ireland on Friday with further rallies and guards over the weekend.
In London, a vigil will be held at the London Irish Center in Camden Town on Saturday at 4pm.
“My thoughts tonight are with the family of the young woman who was killed in a truly shocking crime, with her friends and with her community,” tweeted Helen McEntee, Ireland’s justice minister. “Gardaí will investigate this heinous crime and ensure that justice is done.”
The Taoist, Michael Martin, was among those involved in a vigil outside Dail in Dublin. He said earlier that the assassination had “united the nation in solidarity and disgust”.
“The whole country is shocked and crushed by the horrific murder of … Ashling Murphy while he was out running. Her family, friends, colleagues and the children she taught are in our thoughts this morning,” said Michelle O ‘ Neill, Stormont’s deputy prime minister, on Twitter. “Violence against women and girls must be stopped.”
She later repeated the message at the guard in Belfast. “Men’s violence against women and girls must stop now,” she told the audience outside City Hall. “I think the sheer fact that people across every town, village and county across this island today gather in large numbers to commemorate Ashling Murphy shows that women have had enough. We are right. to feel safe, we have the right to be safe. We have the right to run. We have the right to go to work and feel safe, we have the right to go to the shops and feel safe. I think It is a landmark moment in our society today. “
Kathleen Murphy told the Mirror: “The last thing she wanted to say in the morning when she went out was ‘Mom, I love you’.”
The killing follows Wayne Couzen’s conviction for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Everard, a 33-year-old marketing manager, when she went home in March last year. Couzens, who at the time of the crime was a serving police officer in the Metropolitan, was sentenced to life in prison.
Last month, Koci Selamaj claimed responsibility for the death of 28-year-old schoolteacher Sabina Nessa in London in September. She was found dead one day after leaving her home to meet a friend at a nearby bar. Selamaj pleaded not guilty to the murder and the trial continues.
“There must be zero tolerance for any form of violence against women,” tweeted Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister. “Really destructive and pointless. Every effort is being made to ensure that justice is done.”
“It’s scary that news has surfaced about another woman who has been brutally murdered here on our island,” said Nichola Mallon, SDLP deputy director and Stormont’s infrastructure minister. “That’s why women across our island do not feel safe.”