Ashling Murphy was a 23-year-old teacher, who was running along the banks of the Grand Cana in Tullamore at around 4pm on Wednesday when she was attacked and murdered.
A 40-year-old man was arrested in connection to the murder but has been released without charge. Police are still on the hunt for a man who they believe acted alone, and may have stalked Ashling Murphy prior to the attack.
Numerous attacks against women were reported in recent months, including the tragic murder of Sarah Everard in 2021 which caused outrage across Twitter. The hashtag #SayHerName was tweeted by thousands, with many expressing anger toward the constant precautions women are forced to take to protect themselves.
When I heard the story I couldn’t believe it.
Today, people have taken to Twitter once again. The hashtag #SheWasGoingForARun has been circulating to highlight the constant danger women are in when going outside on their own.
Elissa Clark, 26, an experienced runner and member of Bournemouth Athletics Club also shared the hashtag. She said: “I live and run on my own, so this really hit home. When I heard the story I couldn’t believe it.
“I have always avoided running in the dark because of things like this, but the fact it happened at 4pm in broad daylight is most shocking.”
Caitlin Peers, 25, is part of an all-women running group Bournemouth Joggers. She said: “Sadly running alone in the dark will always present more risks than doing so in a group. If we can encourage women to run safely with clubs so they feel happy to exercise at any time of the day that would be a huge success. I would encourage people to join a running group; running with others is much safer and gives women the option of running at all times of day.”
Like many female runners, this news has been a shock to the system. Elissa said she plans to increase her protection moving forward.
“When I do go running, I don’t wear headphones. Usually I don’t even take my phone but after her story, I may now start taking my phone with me and one of those rape alarms to keep in my glove.
“There’s no denying that girls are now going to be scared going out running, but if we stop running because of that fear we’re letting all the bad people win.
“So do take precautions, but don’t stop running!”