Female jogger killed in attack in Co Offaly

Man arrested in murder investigation over incident on canal bank near Tullamore

Gardaí have a begun a murder investigation into the fatal assault which took place at about 4pm at Cappincur, Co Offaly. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Gardaí have a begun a murder investigation into the fatal assault which took place at about 4pm at Cappincur, Co Offaly. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

Gardaí have begun a murder investigation after a woman was killed in an attack on a canal bank tow path in Co Offaly while jogging in the area.

A suspect has been arrested by local gardaí and was in custody on Wednesday evening. The man being questioned is in his 40s and was being detained at Tullamore Garda station under the provisions of section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984.

One line of inquiry is that the killer was a stranger to the woman and that the attack was random, though Garda sources stressed the investigation was at a very early stage.

The fatal assault took place at about 4pm at Cappincur on the Grand Canal.

The dead woman, believed to be in her 20s, was well known in the area and is believed to be originally from a townland just outside Tullamore.

It is understood she was a young professional from a close-knit family living in the locality.

The scene of the killing was sealed off immediately after gardaí and paramedics arrived after the alarm was raised on Wednesday afternoon.

The woman’s body remained at the scene on Wednesday night pending the arrival of a pathologist to carry out a preliminary examination of the remains in situ. Members of the Garda Technical Bureau had also been called in to carry out an examination of the scene while Garda divers were also due to search the canal for any evidence that may have been discarded into the water.

“An incident room has been established at Tullamore Garda station under a senior investigating officer. A family liaison officer has been appointed and is liaising with the family of the deceased,” a Garda statement said.

Gardaí were appealing for anyone with information about the fatal assault to come forward. They also urged anyone who was in the area of Cappincur and canal walk area of Tullamore before 4pm to come forward.

Local councillor Declan Harvey said the area in which the attack occurred was normally “full of people”.

“I want to offer my condolences to the family, and I hope the person responsible for it is caught,” he said.

“Myself and my wife use the canal regularly going down for walks. It is well used by local people from all around Tullamore.

“This is heartbreaking to us. This never happens. During the summer and during the lockdown, the canal walk was full of people – on their own, young old, abled and disabled. It’s a huge greenway walk and it’s always been very safe and very busy.”

Cllr Neil Feighery, also from the area, said it was “frightening” for such an incident to occur in broad daylight.

“My first reaction is absolute shock and horror that something like this could happen in the mid-afternoon on a really well used stretch of land in our county town,” he said. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the victim.”