'Significant' new leads in Deirdre Jacob murder probe
Convicted rapist Larry Murphy 'a person of interest' to gardai
Gardai have received "significant" new information about Deirdre Jacob since launching a murder investigation two months ago.
This follows the earlier breakthrough that led gardai to upgrade their investigation into the 18-year-old student's disappearance to a murder inquiry.
Sources said it was "substantial" and "significant" and detectives are currently trying to corroborate it.
While gardai say they are pursuing several lines of inquiry, one of the key avenues relates to the convicted rapist Larry Murphy, who is a "person of interest" in the case.
The teenager vanished in July 1998 from the roadside close to her home outside Newbridge, Co Kildare.
She had been on errands in the town and was seen by neighbours on her way home that afternoon before she seemed to disappear without trace just yards from her home.
The new investigation is placing renewed focus on the statement of a prisoner who claimed that a drunk Larry Murphy allegedly boasted while in prison of abducting a woman outside Newbridge.
Murphy was serving a prison sentence at the time for the kidnap and rape of a woman in the Wicklow mountains.
After Murphy completed his sentence, the prisoner made several detailed statements about his alleged confession to retired detective, Alan Bailey.
Bailey recounted in a subsequent book that the prisoner claimed that Murphy told him "he had pulled in alongside a young girl on the road just outside of Newbridge, waved the map in her direction, and asked for instructions on getting to a particular place.
"When the youngster leaned in through the open passenger window to try to see where he was pointing to, he is alleged to have grabbed her by her hair, and roughly dragged her down into the car, forcing her down into the 'well' of the front passenger seat. It was then suggested that he had driven away at speed."
The prisoner's allegations led to number of unsuccessful searches for Deirdre Jacob in and around the Wicklow area.
Murphy, a carpenter and tradesman, travelled throughout the Leinster region for his work.
Detectives are working through re-interviewing builders and trades people who were operating in Newbridge in the months either side of Deirdre Jacob's disappearance.
An appeal for information on the 20th anniversary of Deirdre's disappearance has led to more than 70 new calls from members of the public.
Gardai reviewed Deirdre's case last year, commissioning a "victimology" report to assess the probability of what happened to her, and a proof of life analysis which assessed the likelihood that she could still be alive.
The findings of the reports contributed to the Garda decision to upgrade the investigation from a missing person case to murder.