Thursday 23 November 2017

Murphy release sparks 'fear and anxiety' among rape victims

Breda Heffernan and Mark Kennedy

SUPPORT services for rape victims have warned their clients could face heightened feelings of anxiety and fear with the release of notorious rapist Larry Murphy from prison tomorrow.

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre said it will be available to support victims of rape and sexual abuse who may be affected by the publicity surrounding Murphy's release.

He is being freed after serving just more than 10 years of a 15-year sentence for the rape and attempted murder of a Carlow businesswoman in 2000.

Ellen O'Malley-Dunlop, chief executive of the centre, said it was aware of the "anxiety and fear" that has been triggered in the run-up to Murphy's return to the community.

"We are acutely sympathetic to the possibility of re-traumatisation of victims of rape and sexual abuse at this time, by the extensive media coverage that this case has generated.

"We urge anyone who needs support, whether a victim or a friend or a family member, to call the national 24-hour helpline, 1800 778888," she added.


Ms O'Malley-Dunlop also backed calls for reform of the prison remission system which automatically entitles most offenders to avoid one-quarter of their sentence.

"In cases of sex offences, we would call on the Government to legislate for remission to be linked with co-operation and participation in rehabilitation programmes and that high-risk repeat sex offenders are not released until it is possible to assess that there is a reduction in the possibility of their re-offending," she added.

Concern has been raised that Murphy has refused to undertake any rehabilitation programmes for sex offenders while in Arbour Hill Prison.

A public meeting will be held in his native Co Wicklow tomorrow to coincide with his release.

The imminent release of the 45-year-old rapist, who is from Baltinglass, has caused great concern in the locality and some 12,000 people have signed up to a Facebook campaign to keep him in prison.

The organisers of the meeting in Grangecon said they were hoping to set up a network of people in all villages in the area who would look out for people and liaise with the gardai.

Meanwhile, TV3 is to broadcast a one-off special on the release of Larry Murphy which will feature an interview with his family. 'Larry Murphy: Prime Suspect' will air at 7.30pm tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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