A SEARCH of a remote area in west Wicklow in connection with the past activities of the notorious rapist Larry Murphy is expected to be completed this evening.
Gardai said last night they did not expect the search operation to produce any fresh evidence against Murphy, who was released from prison in August 2010 and is currently in northern Europe.
Murphy is from Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, and yesterday's search concentrated on an area around a hunting lodge, less than a mile from where Murphy was found with his abducted rape victim in the boot of his car almost 12 years ago.
The search is being carried out on the basis of allegations made by a forensic scientist in a Sunday newspaper last year. But no evidence was produced to back up the claim that Murphy might have used the lodge.
After the publication of the article, officers from the garda cold-case unit examined the disused lodge, which is on private land at Kilranelagh, outside Baltinglass, before Christmas.
A more detailed examination was carried out by about 20 gardai from a divisional search team throughout yesterday and will resume this morning.
Gardai said last night that they had so far found nothing of interest there and thought it unlikely that anything worthwhile would be found today.
The lodge had been used in the past by clay-pigeon enthusiasts but has fallen into disrepair. Gardai interviewed the owner of the land and other local people about the use of the lodge but did not establish any connection with Murphy.
After Murphy's conviction for the rape and abduction, he was sentenced to 15 years.
In the meantime, gardai examined whether he could be a possible suspect in their investigations into the disappearance of several women.
In particular, he was on a list of suspects in connection with two of the missing women, Jo Jo Dullard and Deirdre Jacob. But gardai did not find any evidence to link him to any of the cases.
After his release from Arbour Hill, Murphy moved to Spain and remained there until his return last year to sort out problems with travel documents.
He subsequently travelled to northern Europe and set up in a new location there.
His current whereabouts are known to gardai.