Hope for ‘crisis of conscience’ in student murder

Gardaí investigating the 1999 murder of teenager Raonaid Murray hope that a “crisis of conscience” will lead to a breakthrough in the case.

As the jury at Dublin Coroner’s Court returned a verdict of unlawful killing by a person unknown at the inquest into the 17-year-old’s death, Det Sgt Don Griffin said that no motive or prime suspect have been identified despite one of the “largest and most enduring” murder investigations in the history of the State.

“It is possible that Raonaid’s killer has never revealed their identity to anybody else. In that respect, a crisis of conscience by the killer or by somebody with direct knowledge of the killer may well bring closure to this investigation and end the prolonged suffering of Raonaid’s family,” he said.

Gardaí do not know who committed the murder, he said.

“There is an impression out there in the general public that the investigating gardaí in this case know who the culprit is but cannot prove it. This is far from the case. There is no prime suspect identified and the investigation continues at a pace. It is vital that anybody who has any information on the case, and has not yet come forward in the mistaken belief that the gardaí know the culprit, come forward now.”

Raonaid’s body was found by her sister just metres from the family home at Silchester Park in Glenageary, Co Dublin, on Sep 4, 1999. She had been stabbed multiple times.

The court heard that she had been socialising at Scott’s Pub in Dún Laoghaire and was last seen at 11.20pm making her way home. Her sister, Sarah Murray, had also been out with friends that night and they found the body at about 12.30am.

“We realised it was a person and then realised it was Raonaid. I saw the injuries and blood and realised that she had been attacked,” she said.

One of her friends checked for a pulse and found none. Ms Murray ran home to alert her parents and brother. The family were on the scene as paramedics and gardaí attended to Raonaid.

The autopsy found that she died following shock and blood loss due to a stab wound in the left armpit.

Det Sgt Griffin said that neighbours had heard “what in hindsight would be suspicious noises” coming from a laneway about a half an hour before Raonaid was found. She was stabbed there and then walked 65m towards her home before collapsing, he said.

Following the verdict Raonaid’s mother, Deirdre Murray, appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

“The gardaí have pledged their commitment to pursuing this investigation, to seek justice for Raonaid, for us — her family — and for the wider community. We have put our trust in the gardaí and continue to trust that they will honour their commitment,” she said.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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