London crowd pays tribute to Ashling Murphy

A huge crowd has gathered in London in solidarity with the family and friends of an Irish primary school teacher who was murdered as she went for an afternoon run.

People held candles and stood in silent tribute outside the London Irish Centre in memory of Ashling Murphy.

The 23-year-old’s death in Tullamore, Co Offaly, earlier this week has sparked outrage well beyond the island of Ireland.

The event drew a huge crowd at Camden (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Gardaí are continuing to hunt for her killer, and they have said the Murphy family were “appreciative and overwhelmed by the national outpouring of support shown to them”, after vigils were held in towns across Ireland on Friday.

On Saturday, a large number of people queued in Camden Square, north London, to sign a book of condolence and lay flowers.

The vigil took place at around 4pm – the time at which gardaí said the fatal assault occurred on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old was found dead on Wednesday afternoon after going for a run on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly.  (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Traditional music was played in honour of Ms Murphy, a talented fiddle player, while some of the crowd quietly sang or hummed along.

Anna Johnston, cultural officer at the London Irish Centre, said people had come together in solidarity with those who knew and loved Ms Murphy “and all the women of Ireland and further afield who are angry, distressed and heartbroken”.

Addressing the crowd, she added: “Today, along with Ashling, we remember all the women who have had their lives stolen through gender-based violence. We shouldn’t be here, and Ashling should be.”

A minute’s silence was held, after which the young teacher’s favourite song, When You Were Sweet Sixteen, was sung.

Her father Ray Murphy had played the tune on the banjo in tribute to his youngest daughter at a vigil on Friday near the scene of her murder.

Musicians perform in Ashling Murphy’s honour outside the London Irish Centre in Camden, north London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Last year in London, people gathered in memory of marketing executive Sarah Everard and school teacher Sabina Nessa – two women who were fatally attacked while out walking in the capital.

A small sign near the entrance to the London Irish Centre bore their names and those of other women who have died, under the letters “RIP”.

A steady stream of people laid flowers and candles as darkness fell.

One floral tribute left outside the centre read: “Your beautiful life was stolen by evil.

“You deserved so much better. May your soul live on in music.”

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