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Gardai dismiss newest 'apparitions' of Murphy

Gardai have again dismissed claims about the latest "sighting" of Larry Murphy, this time in rural Limerick and west Tipperary, where some local people are said to have stopped walking at night and even temporarily moved home on the basis of unconfirmed reports the convicted rapist was in the area.

Murphy, according to reliable sources, is still abroad and has not returned to Ireland since June last year when he returned to renew his passport after it was apparently stolen in Spain. His whereabouts are known to gardai and it is understood he is still living and working in northern Spain.

In the latest 'apparition', reported in the Limerick Leader, Murphy was supposed to have been standing before a grotto in Cappamore, Co Limerick at an unspecified time by an unidentified local person. A number of local papers have reported sightings of Murphy since his release in August 2010.

Murphy left Ireland days after his release from prison, after he was pursued by journalists almost around the clock for two days. He travelled via ferry to Britain and then on to the Continent, living for some time in Amsterdam then moving south to France and then Spain.

Since then unconfirmed sightings have led to scares in Celbridge, Co Kildare; Courtown and Blackwater, Co Wexford; and his home town of Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, among many other locations.

In June last year he had been seen "on several occasions on the road between Athy and Portlaoise". This was not the case and during his visit to Dublin to renew his passport he remained in a hotel in the north of the city.

In January, gardai carried out a fruitless search around a derelict hunting lodge in the west Wicklow mountains following a report in a newspaper that he may have once used this during the period that young women went missing in the Leinster area.

It was close to the location where Murphy brought the young woman he abducted from the centre of Carlow town in February 2000. Murphy was questioned as a suspect in the abductions and murders of a number of young women in the 1990s but no evidence has emerged to link him to these disappearances and suspected murders.

Sunday Independent