Police making 'significant progress' in Ashling Murphy murder as vigils held across Ireland
The primary school teacher was attacked whilst going for a run
Thousands have attended vigils held for murdered school teacher Ashling Murphy as local police reveal they are making "significant progress" in their ongoing investigations.
Crowds gathered in Dublin, Belfast and along the banks of Grand Cana in Tullamore, County Offaly where the 23-year-old primary school teacher was found dead on Wednesday after going for a run.
Murphy died of strangulation and Irish police continue to search for her attacker.
While the country mourns this tragic and senseless event - which sadly echoes the murder of British student Sarah Everard which took place last year - authorities have said that they have made progress with their investigation but are holding back from releasing details due to "operational reasons", according to reports.
Meanwhile, Murphy's family recently attended a candle-lit vigil near the murder scene and have since said that they are "appreciative and overwhelmed by the national outpouring of support shown to them," according to a statement released by the Gardaí (Irish police).
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The murder of Murphy - who was also a talented musician alongside her work as a primary school teacher - has sparked a wave of anger and grief across Ireland.
Following the attack, a 40-year-old male was recently arrested but released without charge on Thursday evening - with Gardaí revealing that the man is "no longer a suspect".
The police believe the attack may have been random but are currently looking for a mountain bike which they believe could be linked to the potential attacker.
Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntree has publicly stated that she is “thinking of Ashling and all women who are and have been victims of violence," adding “we must come together to demand zero tolerance of violence against women. As minister for justice, I am working to ensure we have a society that does not tolerate this any longer.”
More vigils are expected across the coming days. One mourner was Attracta Brady, a teacher who taught Murphy the fiddle. "She was the most beautiful girl inside and out," she said.
“She was a parent’s dream. She was everything you’d want in a daughter. She had integrity, she was honest, she was trustworthy. She was quirky and a little bit cheeky sometimes... and she’d get away with it because she had this beautiful twinkly smile."
Police continue to urge anyone with any information regarding Murphy's attack - or a Falcon Storm mountain bike with distinctive straight handlebars and yellow-green front forks - to come forward.