Gardaí expand searches as Ashling Murphy murder suspect remains in custody

Several complaints made to Garda about man exposing himself during online vigil

 The crime scene on the Grand Canal at Cappincur just outside Tullamore remains sealed off, almost a week after the murder last Wednesday.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

The crime scene on the Grand Canal at Cappincur just outside Tullamore remains sealed off, almost a week after the murder last Wednesday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

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Gardaí have expanded their searches as part of the investigation into the murder of national school teacher Ashling Murphy (23) as the chief suspect remains in custody.

The suspect, a 31-year-old man who has a partner and young children living in the midlands, is being detained at Tullamore Garda station in Co Offaly after his arrest on Tuesday.

Gardaí believe the killer was carrying a weapon and that he discarded it, possibly in a bin or by a roadside away from the crime scene, with search teams still trying to find it on Tuesday. Those efforts look set to continue for several days.

The crime scene on the Grand Canal at Cappincur just outside Tullamore remains sealed off, almost a week after the murder last Wednesday.

The murder suspect was discharged from a Dublin hospital on Tuesday morning. He presented there last Thursday with serious injuries, giving rise to suspicions among medical staff, who contacted gardaí.

Once the man was discharged on Tuesday he was arrested under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows for him to be questioned for up to 24 hours without charge. He was taken in a Garda vehicle to Tullamore Garda station as Ms Murphy’s funeral was under way at nearby Mountbolus.

Detectives seeking to question him had to wait until he was deemed well enough, physically and mentally, to be discharged and interviewed. The man’s period of detention is set to expire on Wednesday evening, at the latest, at which point the DPP must recommend he be charged or released.

Detectives have built up a picture of some of the suspect’s movements last week before his admission to hospital.

Gardaí have uncovered CCTV footage of a man on a bicycle in the Tullamore area on the day of the murder. They believe that bicycle is the mountain bike later left by the killer at the murder scene after he fled on foot when disturbed by two women.

Separately, several people have made formal complaints to the Garda about a man exposing himself, and apparently masturbating, last Sunday evening after he gained access to an online vigil for Ms Murphy.

In reply to queries, the Garda said several complaints had been received about the incident on Zoom and inquiries were under way.