The former suspect in the investigation into Ashling Murphy’s murder extended his solidarity with the bereaved family and spoke about the trauma of his detention and subsequent public comment.
I feel terrible for the misfortune of the young woman and the family. I can’t even imagine what they’re going through, ”Radu Floricel said.
In an interview with the Tullamore Tribune, the 39-year-old said the two days in custody were the most terrifying of his life.
“I have helped and will continue to assist with the investigation as much as possible. It was a horrible experience for me, my family and my lawyer. “
He said his lawyer, Donal Farrelly, was verbally abused as he walked to and from Garda station in Tullamore, where Mr. Floricel was detained from 5pm Wednesday until 11pm Thursday.
While questioned Thursday, his sister went to court on charges of not leaving the family home during a time it was designated as a crime scene. She was remanded in custody with consent to bail until next Wednesday.
“Since when [the gardai] arrested me I lived a nightmare. My sister who is suffering from depression and is now in prison for refusing to leave our home and we are really worried about her. My mother and grandmother are really worried and upset and they too have been forced to leave our home ”.
He said he was identified on “media and social media” and “really bad” and “degrading” things said about him.
When he was released Thursday night, the gardai released a statement saying he was no longer a suspect and had been eliminated from their investigation into the killing of 23-year-old Offaly teacher Ashling Murphy.
Mr Floricel, who has lived in Ireland since moving from Romania at the age of 16 to be reunited with his parents, said he wants his name to be completely cleared.
He said he has a string of previous convictions for public order offenses and believes an existing assault charge resulting from an accident last year at his home will be dropped.
“We are a proud Romanian family. We don’t think it should be seen as degrading or anything like that, ”he said.
“My mother is a singing teacher for singing and speech therapy. He had students from all the different families in the city. Many families and people know us ”.
He said that he and his mother, grandmother and sister all live together and have integrated well into Tullamore, a decent family.
His parents initially lived in Dublin and ran a restaurant there and then opened a coffee shop in a Tullamore shopping center.
Mr. Floricel said he worked locally at a cell phone shop, went to the Athlone Institute of Technology and Sligo to study, and most recently was employed in an arcade before it closed due to of Covid-19. He has a daughter and is separated from his mother.
The arrival of the gardai at his door on Wednesday was a huge shock to him.
“At first I thought it was a joke, I thought it was a joke. The guards were talking about being arrested for the crime of murder and I couldn’t believe it, “he said.
“The house is destroyed. Everything has been turned upside down. I don’t know what they were looking for. “
At least four hours earlier he had taken a ride from a friend to a nearby shop to buy milk, coffee, and cigarettes and then returned home by another road, along the southern bank of the Grand Canal, and back on the road that led to the his home.
Ashling Murphy’s deadly assault took place on the north bank, on a pedestrian and bicycle path that was paved with asphalt, while the side Floricel walked on has a grassy towpath.
He said the store’s CCTV cameras that he was shown during the interrogation showed that he had been there at the time.
He also said his phone had further evidence of what he was doing because it recorded the music he was listening to.
“I love walking there,” he said.
After being taken to the Garda station, he said his clothes and fingerprints had been taken.
“They kept asking the same questions over and over and I said no, this has nothing to do with me. I told them exactly where I was walking, the clothes I was wearing and what I did. I paid in the shop with a credit card so they had everything. “
It was “terrifying” when the questions were repeated and he got angry because he said the same thing to the gardai for hours.
“I’ve been telling the truth from the start,” he said, adding that he told the agents that “as long as you keep me in here, the real killer is out somewhere.”
The similarity in appearance between him and a man sought by the gardai led him to be misidentified in a formation.
Additionally, he was told that the eyes of the man they were looking for were a different color to his own and that he had decided to grow a beard during the block when he became depressed, a condition for which he is still being treated.
After his release he was provided with accommodation away from home for one night and Garda security was provided for the family residence.
“I have respect for [the guards’] I work but it was still a very difficult situation for me because I told the truth from the beginning and I also helped them with everything I could for two days ”.
Along with the trauma of his detention and interrogation, he said the “media and social media” had said “really bad” and “degrading” things about him. He said the “friends” he had on Facebook threatened and insulted him.
“My biggest concern right now is for my sister. I am concerned at the moment for the safety of my family. I am worried about my sister, my mother and my nanny [who] they are really proud people but they told me they want to move now, even if this is their home. It’s all over now, “he said.
“I’m trying to get my family back to where they used to be. I know my name should have been deleted by now, but I may still receive threats. Some people may not have heard the latest news. My name has not been cleared. “
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