Gardaí know exactly where the convicted rapist suspected of the murder of Deirdre Jacob lives in London and English police are assisting with monitoring his movements
Gardaí are aware of the exact whereabouts of Larry Murphy in London and English police are assisting with monitoring the rapist’s movements.
Murphy, understood to be working as a master craftsman at a London building site, is suspected of the murder of missing trainee school teacher Deirdre Jacob, who vanished in 1998.
The DPP is still considering whether the convicted rapist should face criminal charges after detectives submitted an extensive file into his alleged involvement in her suspected kidnapping and murder. The garda file outlines the evidence against Murphy and was submitted in February of last year.
In late July, the DPP sent it to a specialist barrister for a “second opinion”, indicating that the State prosecutor is expected to rule soon on whether to press charges against the notorious rapist.
What would greatly assist in laying criminal charges would be the discovery of the remains of the 18-year-old, according to security sources. Last week, gardaí began an excavation of woodland in Co Kildare searching for the remains of the teenager, whose case was upgraded to murder in 2018.
“If the remains of Deirdre Jacob are found in that area, Larry Murphy would have reason to worry. Even if nothing is found, he could still have reason to worry — the DPP is considering charges even without a body,” said a well-placed source.
“But there is no doubt that finding her remains would greatly help. Make no mistake, this dig is solely for Deirdre Jacob.”
In London, gardaí have no doubt Murphy is aware of the latest developments in the case, given the publicity around the latest excavation. In late 2018, detectives travelled to London to ask the 56-year-old about the young woman’s disappearance, so he knows he has been on garda radar over this crime.
But Murphy, from Baltinglass in Co Wicklow, wouldn’t talk to gardaí in 2018, nor could he be compelled to do so.
“Gardaí know where he is, how he spends his days and where to find him if we need to. We rely on and benefit from co-operation from the English police. For the past few years, he has largely lived in London and Birmingham on occasion. If the DPP makes a direction and we need to locate him, we can, almost immediately.”
In London, the convicted rapist has a solitary life. “He lives a lonely, quiet type of life. He is not a young man any-
more. He is a master craftsman and continues to work as a carpenter. He is highly skilled and can always secure work, despite his past,” explains a senior investigator.
“Larry Murphy never spoke to gardaí about the only crime he is convicted of, the rape and attempted murder of a Carlow woman. He wouldn’t undergo therapy in jail for that crime either. He will not talk to gardaí about Deirdre Jacob. He is a closed book. The media are fascinated by him. Never has so much been written about a man we know so little about.”
Central to the investigation is a claim made to gardaí by a former prisoner that while inside with Murphy, the convicted rapist confessed to abducting and murdering Ms Jacob.
Cold case investigations into her disappearance have put Murphy in the frame.
The 18-year-old was last seen near her home at Roseberry, Newbridge, Co Kildare, on the afternoon of July 28, 1998. Earlier that day she left home to go to Newbridge. The last CCTV footage of Deirdre was recorded from an Irish Permanent office on Main Street as she walked back in the direction of her home.
Murphy became a person of interest after it emerged he had visited the shop owned by Ms Jacob’s grandmother. CCTV footage from the day of Ms Jacob’s disappearance has been digitalised in recent years, resulting in new witnesses being identified from the clearer video.
During a voluntary interview with gardaí while in prison, Murphy denied any involvement in her disappearance but in the main declined to answer questions. He was released from Arbour Hill prison in 2010, having spent a decade behind bars.
“Larry Murphy should have been arrested by gardaí over Deirdre Jacob as he walked out of Arbour Hill prison in 2010,” said a security source. “There was enough evidence to arrest him at that point. It should have happened and I believe An Garda Síochána missed an opportunity. That was an important moment.”
The nature of the rape Murphy was imprisoned for has defined his life, while almost ending that of his victim. On February 11, 2000, Murphy abducted a young Carlow businesswoman, repeatedly raped her, and was in the process of strangling her with a plastic bag when two hunters in Kilranelagh, Co Wicklow, came across the horrific scene, forcing Murphy to flee.
But he was recognised by the hunters and was arrested hours later, in the home he shared with his heavily pregnant wife, Margaret.
After he was arrested, his calmness in custody disturbed gardaí. He maintained his composure despite insurmountable evidence. The method of the Carlow woman’s rape, kidnap and attempted murder suggested to gardaí that Murphy was a seasoned predator.
He was charged and taken to prison on remand. At first his wife Margaret visited him, when he claimed he was innocent. But, knowing he could not beat the charge, Murphy opted to plead guilty — ending his marriage.
He has never met his son, whom his wife gave birth to a couple of months after her husband’s arrest. He left Ireland shortly after his release from jail in 2010, such was the media furore surrounding his every move.
Whether the 56-year-old will be charged in connection with the murder of Deirdre Jacob currently hangs in the balance. “If the DPP does direct a charge, Murphy’s extradition would not be straightforward, since the UK has left the European Union. A European Arrest Warrant would no longer suffice, but Ireland and England would come to a bilateral agreement over his extradition, should it ever come to pass,” adds a senior source.
“But no garda investigations into this man have ever been simple. No one has ever been able to get inside his head. We know he is capable of unspeakable acts of violence. What we cannot understand, we fear. That’s why Larry Murphy leaves us terrified.”