A MAN who attempted to abduct a teenage girl in the Midlands intended to sexually assault her, a court has heard.
Sentencing began yesterday in the case of Dermot Murphy (42), of Atlantic Coast Apartments, Tramore, Co Waterford, who admitted attempting to abduct a 13-year-old girl last July, intending to sexually assault her.
Detective Sergeant Kieran Hanly, who described the victim's bravery as "outstanding", said Murphy got out of his van on the pretext of clarifying directions, then grabbed the girl, who fought back.
She fell to the ground but kicked Murphy and bit his leg, and her top came off during the struggle before she fled to safety.
DNA evidence from her top, which Murphy threw in a ditch, matched a sample he gave to gardai, and a green hold-all containing clothes and rope, which was found at his home, matched one the girl saw as Murphy held the rear van door open and tried to force her in.
He had set out that day with the intention of finding a girl, and the victim was the third young woman he had seen and attempted to engage.
Gardai used extensive CCTV footage to retrace the van's journey, and when they contacted Murphy to arrange an interview, he handed himself in.
"I don't know what came over me. I feel sorry for the girl, maybe I need help," he told gardai.
Murphy pleaded guilty to attempted false imprisonment, attempted child trafficking and to assault causing harm to the girl.
In a victim impact statement read by Detective Sergeant Hanly, the girl, who was in court with her family, said she was afraid of being alone and was wary of all men, even with her parents.
She wonders if people are watching her and if Murphy will come back, or has done the same thing to other girls who have not come forward.
Murphy served a six-year and 10-month sentence in 1998 for the rape and false imprisonment of a young girl and completed a sex offenders' course in prison.
John Paul Shortt said his client had been doing well after his release from prison, before his life was turned upside down by media publicity.
He now wants to further engage in treatment and post-release supervision.
Murphy was born to a very respectable family, but a deformity to his legs led to surgery and significant scarring, which led to a speech impediment, bullying in school and to Murphy not completing any state exams, Mr Shortt said.
His one relationship broke up because of his alcohol and gambling problems, and he became interested in young girls during his 20s.
Mr Shortt said Murphy's perversions had developed to a highly dangerous level, but he was sorry and wanted help.
He is at high risk of reoffending and Judge Tony Hunt said it was only the victim's strength of character and physical strength that prevented something happening "which hardly bears thinking about".
Describing Murphy as a serious threat to society, with ongoing and unresolved problems, he remanded him in custody to July for psychiatric and other reports.
He would impose "a significant custodial sentence," he said.