Monday 23 October 2017

Escort boss convicted of abducting, raping woman

Escort agency owner Michael Murray
Escort agency owner Michael Murray

Declan Brennan

AN ESCORT agency owner has been convicted of abducting a mother and her four-year-old son then repeatedly raping the woman for hours.

Michael Murray (42), of Killiney Oaks, Killiney, Dublin, was found guilty of carrying out what the prosecution described as a "terrifying ordeal of sexual depravity".

The boy was left wandering the city centre while his mother was still being held against her will and raped in a city centre apartment.

"I had no way out so I had to do what he said," she told the jury – before detailing a series of sexual acts he performed on her.

But Murray denied having sex with the woman. He claimed she was an escort working for his escort agency and that she had stolen money from him.

Murray had pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault, two counts of rape, attempted rape, oral rape and aggravated sexual assault between February 12 and 13, 2010, in a Dublin city apartment.

He also denied child abduction, threats to kill or cause serious harm, false imprisonment, stealing a bank card and stealing cash from two ATMs.

After a trial that lasted 22 days, the jury of nine men and three women took just under six hours to return a unanimous verdict of guilty on all counts.

The Central Criminal Court in Dublin heard that Murray's 20 previous convictions include aggravated burglary, burglary, robbery and possession of firearms.

The trial had heard how Murray lured the woman inside the apartment, which was owned by his wife's family, by convincing her that an elderly woman needed her help.

It was shortly before 5pm on a Friday and the victim was walking on a city centre street with her son.

CCTV footage from the building showed Murray driving away with the boy at around 10pm. Murray left the boy on a footpath near the Luas line in Smithfield, Dublin, and drove off. A taxi driver picked the child up shortly after this and brought him to a garda station.

Murray beat the woman up and forced himself upon her.

The State claimed that the man was acting out a sexual fantasy based on online pornography when he subjected his victim to a "terrifying ordeal of sexual depravity". Murray, who said he was snorting the "head shop" drug Mephedrone, beat her and threatened to kill her son.

She did not know that her son had already been taken outside of the apartment. When Murray left at about 5am, she searched the apartment for the boy before she began to throw plates out of a window to catch people's attention.

HOSPITAL

A passer-by saw the commotion and called gardai. She was brought to hospital and gardai told her that her son was unharmed.

Meanwhile, Murray was driving to his home in Killiney. He stopped twice at two Spar shops and used the victim's ATM card to withdraw money from her bank account.

On the way he sent a number of text messages to his wife's phone telling her to get up and pack a bag.

He told her he had killed a man and was going to fly to London. In other text messages sent to her he described himself as evil and wrote: "My life is over. Thank you for loving me. Remember the good days."

Murray bought a ticket for a flight to London but didn't board the plane.

Murray then went drinking in a number of city centre pubs and admitted "hiding out" in the Morrison hotel under a false name. Gardai from the Bridewell garda station arrested him in the hotel bar on the Sunday night.

Neither the victim, a non- national who lives here with her husband and two children, or anyone from her family were present in court when the verdict was returned yesterday.

The accused did not react to the sentence.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy remanded Murray in custody, where he has been since his arrest a day after the attack ended. He will be sentenced in October.

Irish Independent

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