Raonaid Murray: 5 Things To Know About Ireland's Most Mysterious Unsolved Murder
The teenager's 1999 slaying continues to haunt Ireland and intrigue sleuths all over the world.
In the early hours of September 4, 1999, the body of 17-year-old Raonaid Murray was discovered by her sister near their residence in Glenageary, Ireland, according to police. Authorities said Murray had been stabbed multiple times after an evening out with a female coworker.
To date, Raonaid Murray's killer is unidentified, and the alleged murder weapon remains missing. Numerous reports indicate Murray's death stands out as one of Ireland's most high-profile unsolved murders. The case has also caught the attention of amateur investigators worldwide. Here now are five things to know about the slaying of Raonaid Murray.
Raonaid Murray's Been Described As A "Normal Teenager"
Born on January 1, 1982, Raonaid Murray grew up in the Dublin suburb of Glenageary. She reportedly loved the poetry of Dylan Thomas and spoke of becoming a professional writer. In 1999, she worked at Sally May, a "chic but cheap" fashion boutique in a shopping center not far from her home.
After interviewing a number of individuals who knew Murray, Irish Independent writer Justine McCarthy described her as "just a normal teenager who raved about George Michael's music, kept her favorite teddy bear on her bed, [and] talked of seeing the world.”
Talking to McCarthy about the murdered girl, Sally West store manager Linda-Ann Kelly said, "She was so innocent. She would never do anything without asking. Even if she wanted to make a phone call, she would ask politely if she could use the phone."
Brendan Keane, Murray's student supervisor, said she was "a very quiet, reserved sort of girl who never caused any hassle. She was soft-spoken and well mannered. Most of her friends would have been like that too. They wouldn't have been a boisterous rough-and-tumble crowd." [Irish Independent]
Someone Killed Raonaid Murray After She Had A Fun Night Out With Friends
According to the official website of An Garda Síochána, Ireland's National Police and Security Service, "The body of Raonaid Murray, a seventeen-year-old student, was found in a pedestrian walkway, which runs between Silchester Road and Silchester Park, Glenageary, Dublin at 12:30 a.m. on the morning of 4 September 1999. She had suffered a number of stab wounds to the upper body."
In 2001, the Irish Independent published an account of what led up to Murray's death. The newspaper reported that Murray got off work at 9:00 p.m. and went to Scotts pub on Georges Street, where she socialized with a friend until 11:20 p.m. At that point, Murray reportedly told her friend she was walking home to change clothes so she could meet some other friends at Paparazzi's, a nearby dance club.
According to the Irish Independent, a female motorist said she witnessed a young man "hassling" Murray near an intersection at 11:53 p.m. The witness allegedly added that Murray seemed to know the man and that the teen appeared to be trying to get away from him.
The witness reportedly said the man was about 5 feet 10 inches tall and between 22 and 25 years old. She described him as slender and "good-looking," with a haircut similar to that of Noel Gallagher from the band Oasis.
At 12:02 a.m., another witness reportedly saw Murray walking alone. Roughly eight minutes later, another witness claimed to hear a female shout, "F--k off! "
What happened next is not entirely clear. What is known, according to the Irish Independent, is "Raonaid Murray was stabbed four times by a six-inch kitchen knife … The assailant plunged the knife downward into the young girl's chest. Raonaid Murray raised her left arm to defend herself, and the attacker rammed the knife through the Sally West shopping bag and into her arm. He then plunged the knife into her left side twice. Somehow the dying teenager made her way along the remaining one hundred yards out into Silchester Crescent where she died alone on the grass." [Sunday Independent]
Investigators Conducted Thousands Of Interviews & Made Multiple Arrests With No Convictions
The Irish Times reported in 2003 that law enforcement had conducted 9,000 interviews and made 14 arrests in pursuit of Raonaid Murray's killer, but none led to a conviction.
One dead-end had police pursuing a man who was allegedly acting strange when he got into a taxi near the crime scene that night. The driver reportedly said the man might have been wearing bloodstained clothes.
As the Irish Times reported: "The taxi driver has told gardai the man was in an agitated state and appeared to be trying to cover stains on the upper parts of his trousers." Investigators who looked into the area where the cabbie said the man got out reportedly found no evidence.
Authorities issued a fresh plea to for help in 2016, with police saying the case remains open with a dedicated team committed to solving it. [Irish Journal]
A Possible Link To The "Scissor Sisters" Slaying Reportedly Led Nowhere
In 2006, an Irish court sent siblings Charlotte and Linda Mulhall to prison on charges related to the fatal stabbing and dismemberment of Farah Swaleh Noor, a 38-year-old Kenyan immigrant. Almost from the moment authorities arrested them, the Mulhalls acquired the press nickname "Scissor Sisters," due to how the killing was carried out.
Noor, described in the media as a "drifter" who allegedly sought asylum in Ireland under false pretenses, was said by police to have previously faced rape allegations. Arrest records also indicated he'd been taken into custody numerous times for disorder and assault, including "a sexual assault in which a knife was found at the scene."
He was reportedly convicted of various alleged crimes but did not serve jail time.
Noor reportedly first met the Mulhall family in 2001 and soon thereafter began dating the girls' mother, Kathleen Mulhall. That relationship had allegedly soured by 2005. That year, on St. Patrick's weekend, the four celebrants allegedly got intoxicated on alcohol and MDMA, after which Kathleen Mulhall allegedly told her daughters Noor had been abusive toward her.
Authorities say Kathleen's claim prompted an altercation that ended with Noor stabbed dozens of times and his body dismembered.
According to police reports, Kathleen Mulhall claimed Noor once threatened her by saying, "I'm going to f--king kill you, just like I did with Raonaid Murray." Inquiries into a possible connection between Noor and Raonaid Murray, however, reportedly proved fruitless.
Talking to Dublin Live in 2016, retired Detective Sergeant Alan Bailey said: "There were claims that Farah Swaleh Noor was behind it, but I definitely don't think that was the case. I interviewed the two Mulhall sisters about the claims, and they didn't think it was true. Raonaid's injuries indicated they were made by someone small in stature. You can't rule out either sex. It could be a man of slight build or a woman. She wasn't ambushed, but rather sustained injuries meant to disfigure. It's a local person who did it, I believe. That person must have said it to someone at some stage since then. At this stage, you would hope they would come forward." [Dublin Live]
An Official Review Team Allegedly Found Police Inconsistencies & Suggested The Killer Might Be A Woman
Nearly nine years into the Raonaid Murray investigation, the Garda Serious Crime Review Team reportedly undertook a hard look at the case. Under the leadership of Detective Superintendent Christy Mangan, the team allegedly found "a litany of mistakes."
Among the alleged gaffes were claims that police did not properly follow up with potential witnesses and tension between law enforcement units might have negatively impacted communication.
The Serious Crime Review Team concluded that Murray's killer might have known her. The team also reportedly ruled out several lingering people of interest, while also indicating investigators should look into the possibility of a female perpetrator.
According to the Irish Tribune, "Gardaí believe that the woman may have been known to Murray and killed her after a personal disagreement because the schoolgirl broke off contact with her. The woman is in her 30s and had a reputation for violence against women. She left the country a year after the murder and still lives abroad." [Irish Tribune]