Why was the wrong man arrested in Ashling Murphy’s murder investigation?

The statement issued by the press office of the Guard Headquarters on Thursday night at 22.55 hours is unprecedented in the modern era.

Not only was the man arrested in the investigation into the murder of Ashling Murphy (23) released without charge, but the Civil Guard confirmed that he was now certain that he was not involved in the crime.

“This man has been removed from the Guard’s investigation and is no longer a suspect,” the statement said, urging publishers to “clearly and unequivocally state” their lack of involvement in the crime.

During two days of interrogation, understands The Irish Times, he vehemently denied any involvement in a crime that shook the public.

At least one person close to him told the Civil Guard that they had been with him at the time of the murder, a long way from the assault. However, it was the forensic evidence that confirmed his innocence.

The Civil Guard believes that the same forensic evidence, quickly collected on the Grand Canal towpath in the hours following the crime, will bring the killer to justice.

Even before the nightly statement, Guard Commissioner Drew Harris, speaking in Tullamore, made it clear that the Civil Guard did not close other lines of investigation, even though a man was being questioned.

A new person of interest was identified yesterday, and the Civil Guard was waiting last night to speak to him, after he had been treated for a series of injuries at a Dublin hospital.

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