| 3.8°C Dublin

Gardai revisit 'house of horrors' paedophile case


NOT QUIZZED: the late Peter Murphy

NOT QUIZZED: the late Peter Murphy

NOT QUIZZED: the late Peter Murphy

GARDAI are re-examining the Dalkey "house of horrors" case and claims that a paedophile ring allegedly led by a garda was involved in the rape and abuse of children.

The investigation is alongside another case review in regard to the paedophile Irish language figure, Domhnall O Lubhlai, who evaded imprisonment during almost 50 years of abusing boys.

Both renewed investigations will examine claims that paedophile rapists were able to use influence to hinder scrutiny of their activities.

In the Dalkey case, no one was held to account over the murder of the baby, who was stabbed to death and left in a bin bag in a Dun Laoghaire alleyway 40 years ago last month. The case was opened for re-examination in 1995 after the mother of the infant, Cynthia Owen, who was 11 when the baby was born, returned to Ireland seeking information. She says she was repeatedly raped by her own father, Peter Murphy, and that she was sold for sex to men including, she claimed, three gardai.

Cynthia Owen named 12 men who called to the Murphy family house regularly and paid Peter Murphy and his wife Josie, both of whom are now dead, to rape and abuse their children. Six of the men named by Cynthia are also dead. Two of those still alive were members of the Garda.

All the men were questioned under caution prior to an inquest in 2005 and all denied the allegations.

A memorial service was held last month to mark what would have been the 40th birthday of the baby, posthumously named Noleen, by her mother. The 2005 inquest found that despite the loss of evidence and inconsistencies in the garda investigation at the time, Mrs Owen, who now lives in Wales, was the mother of the child when she was aged only 11.

An inquiry into the garda 1973 murder investigation was carried out by senior counsel Patrick Gageby following the inquest, which found that "most of the surrounding documents and exhibits, some time after that date, were lost or mislaid." The missing evidence included blood samples, the bin bag and blood-stained sanitary towels and newspaper found with the baby's body. The infant had been stabbed to death with a knitting needle, which was never recovered.

A retired Garda inspector, who was the station sergeant in Dun Laoghaire at the time, subsequently told the 2005 inquest that he had not made a statement purporting to have been made and signed by him and which was among the remaining evidence. The retired garda, Eddie Russell, has since died and no explanation was ever brought forward as to how the statement came to be in evidence.

Despite the fact there was common local suspicion, gardai never interviewed the Murphys in 1973.

Since then, Cynthia Owen has repeatedly called for a public examination of the garda investigation into her daughter's murder. She has particularly asked Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who represented her legally for four years after she returned to Ireland in 1995, to have the case re-examined.

Cynthia's brother, Martin, committed suicide in 1995 and another brother, Michael, disappeared in 2002. His body was found in undergrowth near Killiney DART Station in 2005.

Theresa Murphy, who was Cynthia's niece but brought up as her sister, also committed suicide in 2005 after hearing of the discovery of her brother's body. She left behind a 34-page suicide note detailing the rape and abuse she had suffered as a child at the hands of Peter Murphy and other men.

Peter Murphy was known locally as "Poor Peter" an alcoholic who often sat alone in local pubs where patrons would buy him pints. Despite his supposed poverty he had €90,000 in a savings account when he died.

A senior garda from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation is understood to be overseeing the re-examination of the murder of Noleen and the subsequent disappearance of evidence and the alleged tampering with statements.

Irish Independent