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Sunday 17 December 2017

Murphy in hiding, says he's not safe in Ireland

Rapist signs sex offender register but says he wants to leave country

HIDING: Rapist Larry Murphy says he fears for his safety
HIDING: Rapist Larry Murphy says he fears for his safety

JIM CUSACK

FREED rapist Larry Murphy signed the sex offenders' register from a temporary address in Dublin and is understood to be in hiding, effectively under garda supervision and protection in the city, according to sources.

Murphy is keeping himself away from public view, and is being closely watched by surveillance officers working with the Garda Sex Offenders Management and Intelligence Unit. It is understood Murphy has expressed a desire to leave Ireland, as he says he is not safe here any more.

Aside from his trip to Cork, where it is understood he met another former inmate from the sex offenders' prison at Arbour Hill, he is believed to have remained in and around Dublin in the days after his arrest last Thursday week.

Under the terms of his release, he had to register on the sex offenders' list and did so last Thursday, entering his address as being in Dublin.

It is believed that he is sheltering from public view in an institution and was moved at least once last week.

The gardai have no powers to impose conditions on Murphy, other than that he register his current address. If he intends to go abroad, he has to inform gardai of the address where he is staying and they will relay this information to the police in whichever jurisdiction he visits.

He is at the top of the high-risk released-rapist list and will receive unprecedented levels of observation. This will increase if there are further public sightings and protests, as there were in the first 24 hours of his release.

However, gardai say that the current level of "close supervision" cannot continue and eventually the level of surveillance on his movements will decrease.

Gardai complained last week that the present difficulties would have been averted if Murphy, who admitted repeatedly raping and attempting to murder his victim, had received a life sentence, as provided for in law.

However, appeals brought before the Appeal Court on rape sentences have virtually precluded judges from imposing life sentences.

Judge Paul Carney, who sentenced Murphy to 15 years, suspending one year, said in January this year that he was reluctant to impose a life sentence in the case of triple rapist David Hegarty, 32, from Mahon in County Cork. Judge Carney said he wanted to impose a life sentence but that when he had previously imposed a life term, the Court of Criminal Appeal had reduced the sentence.

He said the higher court had reduced a life sentence he had imposed to twelve-and-a-half years. He sentenced Hegarty to 13 years.

Now gardai will be left to gather intelligence on Murphy. This will absorb large amounts of resources.

In the immediate aftermath of his release, two four-man teams of officers followed him everywhere he went. Surveillance at this level requires six teams to cover a 24-hour period. With back-up transport -- including the garda helicopter for over a day -- costs were running to thousands of euro daily.

The normal procedure for released rapists is that they register their address with gardai and an inspector is in charge of compiling intelligence about the offender's movements and people he has contact with.

If the subject varies in any significant way from their routine, surveillance can be stepped up -- including to 24-hour surveillance. There are about 2,000 rapists on the sex offenders' list but only about half of these are supervised.

Murphy refused any treatment during his 10 years in prison and while it is said he is now being offered a place on a programme, his involvement would be purely voluntary.

Sunday Independent

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