Wednesday 7 December 2016

High-risk rapists 'must be kept in prison'

Dearbhail McDonald and Brendan Furlong

Published 10/08/2010 | 05:00

THE Government should be able to detain high-risk sex offenders in prison until they are confident that the harm they pose to the public has been reduced, according to one of the main rape victim's support groups.

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Speaking ahead of the release of convicted rapist Larry Murphy on Thursday, the Rape Crisis Network (RCNI) has appealed to the public to support local gardai.

The network claimed his case has exposed the failures of the legal system regarding repeat or high-risk offenders.

"In cases like this, of a high- risk likely repeat offender, the option of remaining in custody until there is a demonstration of reduction in harm should be available to the authorities," RCNI executive director Fiona Neary said.

"We call on our legal system to make it the norm that serious offender sentences have Pre-Release Risk Assessment built in. Not all sex offenders are the same.

''Pre-release risk assessment means that sex offenders can be individually assessed for Reduction of Harm. Reliable risk assessment can then inform what actions should be taken. In many cases, community based on-going supervision and treatment will be priorities."

The RCNI said public anxiety at Larry Murphy's release is understandable, given his record and the additional crimes in which he is a suspect.

But it warned it would be harder to protect the community if sex offenders were driven out of a particular area or into homelessness.

Close to 13,000 people have signed up to a 'Don't let Larry Murphy out' Facebook page.

Gardai mounted checkpoints in south Carlow yesterday afternoon to heighten awareness of Murphy's pending release.

He is set to walk free this week, having served 10 years of a 15-year sentence for the brutal rape of a south Carlow woman in the Wicklow mountains.

Passport

Gardai have indicated he will be kept under close surveillance.

However, Murphy, who obtained a passport during his sentence, may opt to leave the country once freed.

Murphy was caught by hunters in the Wicklow mountains in 2000 as he was trying to suffocate a woman after he had kidnapped her in Carlow town and viciously raped her.

He had raped her several times and thrown her in the boot of his car with a shopping bag over her head in the attempt to suffocate her.

Murphy is also the prime suspect in the disappearance of three other women.

His family has expressed fears that he could reoffend.

Irish Independent

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