Monday 24 July 2017

Gardai track freed rapist on train trip

Murphy silent as he gets lift from station

Shane Phelan, Michael Brennan and Dearbhail McDonald

FREED rapist Larry Murphy used his second day of freedom to take a day trip to Cork -- shadowed by a team of undercover detectives.

After a series of alleged sightings, Murphy was captured on camera -- a day after his release -- as he emerged from a train at Dublin's Heuston Station.

Wearing a grey Timberland hoodie, Murphy walked straight to a waiting black Ford Focus car as a garda helicopter hovered over the packed station.

The vehicle was last seen travelling along the Long Mile Road on the western side of the city.

Murphy (45) emerged in public early yesterday, just hours after gardai had been forced to disperse an angry crowd that had gathered outside a half-way house for convicts in Coolock in the mistaken belief that he was there.

By law, Murphy does not have to provide gardai with an address until next Thursday -- seven days after his release.

He left Heuston Station at 7.30am yesterday, taking a train to Cork. He spent around three hours there, before returning to Dublin. It was unclear last night how he spent his time in Cork.

A number of gardai and a television crew were present as he alighted from the train.

Murphy made no comment and pulled the hoodie tight over his head before sitting into the car and being driven off.

Father-of-two Murphy, who is estranged from his wife, has yet to tell gardai where he plans to live following his release from Arbour Hill prison.

Deep concerns have been expressed by locals in his native Baltinglass in Co Wicklow that he may return there.

He was set free on Thursday morning after serving 10-and-a-half years of a 15-year sentence for the rape, kidnap and attempted murder of a Co Carlow businesswoman in 2000.

The rapist is deemed at high risk of reoffending after he refused to undergo treatment while in prison and did not show any remorse.

Gardai have also interviewed him about the disappearance of three women around Leinster in the 1990s but were unable to find evidence linking him to those unsolved cases.

Murphy's release has highlighted the issue of the monitoring of sex offenders in the community and has increased pressure on the Government to tighten controls and allow for more information to be provided on the movements of released offenders.

Current legislation prohibits gardai from divulging details of sex offenders living in the community. Although gardai have been closely monitoring Murphy for the past two days, they have admitted that keeping him under 24-hour watch in the long run is not practical.

Amid public anxiety over Murphy's whereabouts, internet sites were buzzing yesterday with dozens of false sightings throughout the day.

The owner of one hotel was forced to issue a statement denying that he was staying there after it was suggested on one website that he was.

Gardai were forced to issue a statement calling for calm and sought to reassure the public that close tabs were being kept on sex offenders.

However, Opposition TDs said new legislation, such as the introduction of electronic tagging of sex offenders, was needed.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern has previously been supportive of tagging, but existing legislation only allows for it to be used on sex offenders who are out of prison on temporary release.

Mr Ahern's spokeswoman said last night that work was "ongoing" to improve the system of monitoring sex offenders, but did not reveal any specifics.

Fine Gael Children's spokesman Charlie Flanagan said tagging would "afford a measure of protection to communities and a measure of protection to women".

Tagging

He continued: "The Murphy case highlights the real difficulty and challenges faced by gardai. In my view, it is next to impossible to physically monitor Mr Murphy and others by way of 24/7 surveillance."

Mr Flanagan said Fine Gael, if it formed the next Government, would also end the automatic entitlement of convicted criminals to 25pc remission on their sentences.

Public fears over the monitoring of rapists such as Murphy are likely to intensify over the next few years, with dozens more serious sex offenders set for release.

Recent figures revealed that more than 350 people are currently being detained in Irish prisons for sex offences.

Of these, more than 40 currently fall into the category of serious rapists, having being sentenced to nine years or more.

Irish Independent

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