All Lives Institute
All Lives Institute

In honour of Ashling Murphy

Ashling Murphy. Aisling was born in Blueball near Tullamore. She qualified as a Primary School Teacher (or Oide Scoile) from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. On the afternoon of the 12th of January, 2022, Aisling was attacked and brutally killed as she jogged along the Grand Canal, just outside Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland. She had gone jogging shortly after she had finished work at 3pm. About an hour later, she was attacked on Fiona's Way, named after a missing woman called Fiona Pender (see below).

Aisling was a 23-year-old Irish primary school teacher. She was described as a 'shining light' by James Hogan, the Principal of her school: "she was one in a million. It's heartbreaking that it was all taken from her". Her pupils, in First Class, laid carefully coloured cards at an alter under her framed picture, at Scoil Naomh Colmcille, with the words "I love you". All who knew her said she was kind, beautiful and fiercely talented: an all-rounder who was popular and a keen camogie player. She was the epitome of a perfect role model for every little girl to look up to and strive to be like

A gifted musician, she played the fiddle, and had been featured at the Tullamore Tradfest, a traditional music festival. She was a vibrant, intelligent and highly-motivated woman who embodied so many great traits and qualities of the Irish people and our communities everywhere. But Aisling was murdered by a married man with five children. He had come to Ireland, been given social housing and generous social welfare payments. A convicted sex-offender, in his native country, he had never held down a job of any description.

Aisling was stabbed eleven times in the neck and had her throat then slit. Even given all the disregard for human life, described on this website, the writing of this piece has been exceptionally difficult. On the 6th of October, 2023, outside the Courtroom, her father, Raymond, gave me his blessing to upload it here, in her honour.

Two women, jogging on the opposite canal bank, saw the assault. They ran to call the Gardaí. Aisling had fought in a desperate attempt to save her life, with the only weapon she had, her keys. Her killer's DNA was found under her fingernails.

At her funeral, Fr Meade said everyone shared their love, grief and faith with Ashling's parents, Ray and Kathleen (núe Leonard), her sister Amy, brother Cathal, and her boyfriend Ryan Casey. Symbols of Aisling's life, brought to the altar, included a fiddle, camogie jersey and a school book.

Ella Flaherty, a childhood friend, was amongst the musicians who performed at the Funeral Mass. Those in attendance from Aisling's school, college, the local GAA club and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann regarded her as the nicest person one could meet. Across the nation the tragic loss of a most perfect Irish girl was mourned.

On the 25th anniversary of her disappearance, Gardaí issued a renewed appeal (23/8/2021) for information about Fiona Pender. A Garda investigation into her disappearance proceeds in the Tullamore and Portlaoise Garda stations. Fiona was 25 years of age and was seven months pregnant when she disappeared. Laws on punishment for violent attacks on people should be dissuasive.

Gardaí are asking anyone anyone who may have information to contact them: Tullamore Garda Station on 057 932 7600, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111, or any Garda Station.