Hundreds join vigil in London for murdered teacher Ashling Murphy

Hundreds of people gathered in London on Saturday for a vigil to remember Ashling Murphy, a primary school teacher murdered while she was on an afternoon run in Irlanda la semana pasada, and call for an end to violence against women.

Murphy, a talented amateur musician and athlete, was attacked on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, County Offaly. The area is known as Fiona’s Way, in memory of another local woman who disappeared 25 hace años que, while seven months pregnant. Her death has renewed debate about women’s safety, in Ireland and beyond.

“We are here to support her family, and because we could all be in the same situation,” said Caitlin O’Shea, 31, who had joined the vigil with many of her friends.

The crowd gathered outside the Irish Centre in Camden, at 4pm, the time Murphy was attacked days before, to hear music and observe a minute’s silence. Organisers said they had only expected a handful of people, but hundreds blocked the street and spilled across a nearby junction.

“We have come together in solidarity with women of Ireland and women of the world who are angry, distressed and heartbroken,” Anna Johnston, one of the vigil organisers, told the crowd. “Today we remember Aisling, we remember all the women who had their lives stolen through gender-based violence. We shouldn’t be here, and Ashling should be.”

The killing comes barely three months after Wayne Couzens was sentenced to life imprisonment for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive who was abducted by the serving Met police officer while walking home, which provoked a national reckoning in the UK on male violence against women.

“It’s so difficult, it happens again and again,” said Claire Fahy, who had travelled from Harrow for the vigil, with roses to lay in memory of Murphy, who was at college with some of her friends. “I’m here to show respect, and for her family.”

In Ireland thousands also gathered to mourn Murphy over the weekend. Sus padres, siblings and boyfriend walked to the canal on Friday evening for a candlelit vigil, and her father later performed her favourite song “Sweet Sixteen” on his banjo. On Saturday runners paused in the morning to remember the 23 year-old.

The director of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, Orla O’Connor, dicho: “We’re angry that another woman’s life has been taken. The death of Ashling Murphy must be a watershed moment to end violence against women.”

Police say they are still investigating the crime. A 40-year-old who was being questioned has been released after police said he was no longer a suspect.

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