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Man exposes himself during online vigil for Ashling Murphy

The Zoom vigil for the murdered school teacher was hijacked by a man using the name of one of the event organisers.

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Floral tributes and candles are left after a vigil outside the London Irish Centre in Camden, London, in memory of Ashling Murphy (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Floral tributes and candles are left after a vigil outside the London Irish Centre in Camden, London, in memory of Ashling Murphy (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Floral tributes and candles are left after a vigil outside the London Irish Centre in Camden, London, in memory of Ashling Murphy (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

A man hijacked an online vigil held for Ashling Murphy by exposing himself and appeared to masturbate live on camera.

One of the speakers was addressing issues around gender violence when the man crashed the Zoom vigil.

The online vigil had been organised for women who were not able to attend the street vigils across Ireland, for people who were isolating, parents and Irish women living abroad.

Ms Murphy, a 23-year-old teacher, was found dead after going for a run on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly on January 12.

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Floral tributes and candles surround a photograph left at the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly, where primary school teacher Ashling Murphy was found dead after going for a run (Niall Carson/PA)

Floral tributes and candles surround a photograph left at the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly, where primary school teacher Ashling Murphy was found dead after going for a run (Niall Carson/PA)

PA

Floral tributes and candles surround a photograph left at the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly, where primary school teacher Ashling Murphy was found dead after going for a run (Niall Carson/PA)

Dozens of women took part in the event, which included music, poetry and speeches, drawing speakers and campaigners from a wide range of backgrounds.

Among those addressing the vigil was Traveller activist Rosemarie Maughan.

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During the video call, a man joined using the name of one of the event’s organisers after a link to the event was posted online.

The man exposed himself to the group and appeared to masturbate before he was removed from the video call by one of the organisers.

The man then attempted several times to re-join the video call while the women were speaking about gender-based violence.

The organisers sent a full report of the incident to Zoom, and have requested the man’s information and Zoom account details.

The incident, which has been reported to gardai for further investigation, has been widely condemned.

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A message left on a hurling stick laid at the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly, where Ashling Murphy was found dead. Ms Murphy was a keen camogie player (Niall Carson/PA)

A message left on a hurling stick laid at the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly, where Ashling Murphy was found dead. Ms Murphy was a keen camogie player (Niall Carson/PA)

PA

A message left on a hurling stick laid at the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly, where Ashling Murphy was found dead. Ms Murphy was a keen camogie player (Niall Carson/PA)

Labour TD Aodhan O Riordain said: “Last night a group of women organised an online vigil, in honour of a woman who was killed last week, on a canal bank named after a missing woman and they still weren’t safe.

“We have deep problems. The first step is to accept that. For men in particular to accept that.”

Gardai are still hunting for the killer of Ms Murphy.

Vigils have been taking place across Ireland and around the world, including in London, Dubai and Australia.

A spokesman for Zoom said: “This incident is truly devastating and appalling, and Zoom condemns such behaviour in the strongest possible terms.

“Our user policies explicitly prohibit any obscene, indecent, illegal or violent activity or content on the platform, and we are looking into this specific incident to ensure Zoom takes any appropriate actions.

“We have a number of default settings to help secure meetings at the outset and features to help hosts more easily access in-meeting security controls, lock meetings, as well as remove and report participants, among other actions.

“We have also been educating users on security best practices for setting up their meetings, including recommending that users never share private meeting links and passwords publicly on websites, social media or other public forums, and encouraging anyone hosting large-scale or public events to utilise Zoom’s webinar solution.

“We take meeting disruptions extremely seriously and where appropriate, we work closely with law enforcement authorities.

“We encourage users to report any incidents of this kind to Zoom and law enforcement authorities so the appropriate action can be taken against offenders.”

An Garda Siochana has been contacted for comment.


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