Sunday 18 August 2019

Irishman's killer may be using Grindr to find victims, say UK police

Tragic: Kilkenny native Adrian Murphy, who was found dead in a flat in London.
Tragic: Kilkenny native Adrian Murphy, who was found dead in a flat in London.

Gareth Davies

Police fear there may be further victims of a suspected rapist and murderer operating using the gay dating app Grindr.

Officers are appealing for information after the body of Adrian Murphy (43), who was from Co Kilkenny, was found at a block of flats in Battersea, south-west London, on June 4.

Tests failed to establish the exact cause of his death, but police say property had been stolen from the premises.

Investigating officers believe he was lured to the flat after chatting with a stranger on Grindr.

A 24-year-old man and a teenage girl were arrested in connection with the suspicious death of Mr Murphy, which police say is linked to an earlier alleged rape.

Police fear that there may be more victims and issued a warning to users of the social media dating app.

Their inquiries have linked Mr Murphy's death to an earlier allegation of rape at an address in Walthamstow, north-east London, on May 30.

In that case, a 40-year-old became unconscious after he was allegedly drugged by a man he met on a social networking site and invited to his flat. He was found later that day by a friend and taken to Whipps Cross Hospital, London but has since been discharged.

His flat had been ransacked and the London Metropolitan Police have said property including laptops, mobile phones and cash were stolen.

Grindr is a massively popular dating app for gay men. As of 2018, it reached 196 countries and has 3.6 million users online on a daily basis.

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Pack, from the London Metropolitan Police's Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "We have linked these two incidents through our suspects and our inquiries continue to establish the exact circumstances.

"We know the victim in the Walthamstow incident met the male suspect through a social networking site and we are investigating whether there is a similar connection in Mr Murphy's death.

"Both incidents happened over a short period of time and thorough inquiries have led us to make these prompt arrests. However, there is a possibility other offences may have been committed before May 30.

"Has anything similar happened to you, or someone you know? A meeting arranged online that has led to intoxication, robbery and possibly sexual assault? Please have the confidence to approach my team so we can investigate what happened to you. You can also contact third-party organisations such as the charity Galop. You will be taken seriously and treated with sensitivity."

A post-mortem examination at St George's Hospital in London on June 6 failed to determine Mr Murphy's exact cause of death.

Friends posted heartfelt tributes on social media. "Adrian was one of the most beautiful humans you could have ever come across... he was the life and soul of every party. He was kind and gentle and would do everything to help someone," said one.

A 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder, rape and theft on Wednesday. He has since been bailed to attend a police station at a later date.

A 17-year-old girl was arrested earlier that day on suspicion of murder and theft and has since been released under investigation.

Irish Independent

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