The family of Ashling Murphy have paid tribute to their ‘little angel’, saying ‘she crammed so much into her short life’.
Her death has sent shockwaves through Ireland, with thousands of people in cities across the country and in Northern Ireland gathering at vigils held in memory of the teacher.
Among those attending a candlelit vigil near where Murphy’s body was discovered were her sister and parents, who tearfully paid tribute to their ‘special little girl’.
Murphy’s father Raymond performed a rendition of Murphy’s favourite song, When You Were Sweet Sixteen, on the banjo, and described his daughter as ‘a little angel’, adding, ‘She was a brilliant girl in every sense of the word.’
‘She was a great worker, with great drive. A marvellous musician. She crammed so much into her short life. She played with Comhaltas Ceoltóirí all over Ireland and all over the UK on the tours. She was in their youth choir and senior orchestra,’ he said. ‘She played all over and had so much respect shown to her by her peers.’
‘The last thing she’d say in the morning going out was ‘Mam, I love you’,’ her mother Kathleen told the Irish Independent.
Following news of Murphy’s death, tributes were also paid by teachers at Durrow National School, where she taught, with the school posting on Twitter that staff were ‘utterly devastated by the passing of our dear colleague and friend’.
‘Ashling was a very professional and talented young teacher,’ the statement read. ‘We are deeply saddened by her tragic loss. Our thoughts are also with her beloved family at this sad time.’
Police say they have made ‘significant progress’ in their attempts to identify Murphy’s killer, with The Times reporting that a person of interest was identified after presenting themselves at a Dublin hospital with ‘serious facial injuries’ on Thursday.
The Gardai have also published images of a Falcon storm mountain bike, as they appeal for witnesses who may have information to come forward.
A Garda spokesperson said in a statement: ‘The Murphy family are appreciative and overwhelmed by the national outpouring of support shown to them. The Murphy family have requested that they now need privacy, space and time to process Ashling’s death.’
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