Ashling Murphy: What happened to her could have happened to me

- BBC News

Ashling Murphy: What happened to her could have happened to me

"It could have very much been me"

Huda Albaqali is 22 and lives and commutes alone.

The international student was at Belfast City Hall on Friday to remember murdered teacher Ashling Murphy.

The 23-year-old was attacked on the banks of the Grand Canal outside Tullamore, County Offaly, on Wednesday afternoon.

Vigils have been held across the island of Ireland in her memory.

The mood was sombre and near-silent at the City Hall gates, as mourners laid flowers and lit candles.

Ashling "could very much have been me", Huda told BBC News NI.

"I do pretty much everything by myself. I dont have the safety choice of having people constantly around me," she said.

"All I can do is just stand here with other women and show that were all in here. It is something to show that we all care."

Hudas friend Emma Murphy, also 22, said the killing evoked traumatic feelings that this could happen to anyone.

"It feels that showing our grief, our solidarity, is the most that we can do… because it feels like there are no other avenues to change it," Emma said.

As with the killing of Sarah Everard in London last year, Ashlings death has touched on the neuralgic issue of womens safety, which resonates across borders.

Some reports suggest Ashling was out jogging when she was attacked at about 16:00 local time on Wednesday.

"This is something women and girls do every day," said Meghan Hoyt from north Belfast.

"For me [this vigil] is finding solidarity in tragedy."

Showing solidarity with her mother was schoolgirl Isabel, 15, who said it was important "to acknowledge someone thats been lost, even if you didnt know them".

"Its just emotional no matter who you are," she added.

Erinn Patenall, 18, hasnt been on a train in months - they make her anxious - but she made the trip from Antrim to Belfast on Friday.

"All of the women in my life have been affected by violence from men," said Erinn.

"I want her [Ashling] and other women to know they arent alone in it.

"Having her last moments spent that awful… its nice for people to come together and remember her in a good way."

Read it all at BBC News