Flowers, music and candles at vigil for murdered Ashling Murphy

Thousands outside the London Irish Centre

Thursday, 20th January — By Isabelle Stanley

january20 Image 2022-01-20 at 21.11.25 (7)

The scene outside the London Irish Centre

THOUSANDS gathered in Camden Square on ­Saturday in tribute to Ashling Murphy – the teacher killed while out on a run in Ireland last week.

The 23-year-old was found strangled on a canal path in County Offaly, Ireland, last Wednesday. The Gardaí arrested a man on suspicion of murder on Tuesday, after he arrived at a hospital in Dublin with severe, suspicious facial injuries.

A second man was being questioned yesterday (Wednesday). An outpouring of anger and grief spread out of Ireland to Camden on Saturday with a vigil at the London Irish Centre.

A folk band played while thousands of people laid cards, flowers and lit candles in Ms Murphy’s honour. Signs read: “Her name is Ashling, she is a daughter, a cousin, a sister, a niece, a friend, she was going for a run”.

Her murder sparked a public outcry reminiscent of that which followed the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer in March last year.

Ms Murphy’s murder comes as the Met Police are in court defending their conduct in the handling of the vigil for Ms Everard last year.

Ashling Murphy

Reclaim These Streets, a campaign group which organised the event, have forced a judicial review into the Met’s decision and accused police of breaching their right to freedom of speech by trying to prevent the event from going ahead.

The Met used Covid regulations as a defence for their actions, but lawyer for Reclaim These Streets Tom Hickman QC said in court: “It was always about stopping the vigil.”

After the Met banned the vigil, they forced Reclaim These Streets to pull out of the plans with the threat of £10,000 fines. Nonetheless, an impromptu event went ahead on Clapham Common which sparked a media outcry after photos emerged of the police arresting young, female attendees.

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick faced calls to resign but she was supported by prime minister Boris Johnson and leader of the opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, to stay in the job. “What has happened makes me more determined, not less, to lead my organisation,” she said at the time.

Related Articles