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Calls for tagging as serial rapist returns to town

SERIAL rapist Michael Murray spent last weekend in the town where he served 13 years in prison.

The Herald has learned that the dangerous sex predator stayed in Castlerea, Co Roscommon for around 48 hours.

Gardai have confirmed that they were aware that Murray (50) returned to the town some 11 months after his release.

Yesterday, evil Murray failed in a High Court bid to gag the Herald from revealing his whereabouts.

He had sought an injunction stopping the media from publishing his photographs, his location and place of employment.

High Court Judge Mary Irvine said that there was a "public interest" purpose for printing such information.

Over a six-day period in 1995, Murray sexually assaulted six women, raping four of them.

Residents in the Co Roscommon town were shocked last weekend as they spotted the rapist nonchalantly walking through their town.

He was spotted walking in the Arm area of the small town on Sunday.

The sighting has prompted former Fine Gael Justice spokesperson Charlie Flanagan TD to renew calls for the adoption of electronic tagging for dangerous sex offenders.

Gardai have confirmed they were aware of convicted rapist Murray's whereabouts during his two-night stay in Castlerea. He is believed to have arrived on Saturday afternoon and left on Monday morning after spending two nights in the quiet country town.

Murray has been described as "extremely dangerous" and members of the public who spot him acting suspiciously are advised to contact their local garda station.

The rapist, who also exposed himself to young children, is seeking damages for mental pain, distress and anguish due to interference with his rights to privacy and to maintain a permanent dwelling by the media under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

A social networking site that was created following Murray's release from prison listed sightings of the rapist in locations around the town at the weekend.

Murray was also spotted at the town's swimming pool, it was claimed.

One nervous teenager posted that she had seen Murray on the way home from her Junior Cert.

"He was spotted outside Cahill's Supervalu in Castlerea today. I seen him in front of me when I was going home from my Junior Cert. Really freaky," the teen wrote on the page.

A circular text message was also sent to hundreds of women in the Castlerea area urging them not to walk alone and to alert as many people as possible that Murray was in the region.

On his last extended period of freedom, in 1995, Murray raped four women and sexually assaulted two others in less than one week.

The attacks took place across Dublin's southside, including Dalkey and Rathmines. He has also attacked women in the Ballsbridge office belt, close to the Burlington Hotel.

In each of the cases he attempted to suffocate or strangle his victim, and he was convicted of assault in relation to these attacks, and cutting one of his victims with a knife.

Eighteen months before his rape conviction, Murray received a four-month sentence for indecently exposing himself to a five-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy.

In 1989 he was jailed for eight-and-a-half years for an attack in the UK.

Deputy Flanagan has called on Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern's pledge to adopt electronic tagging.

"I'd be very concerned of any post release movements by known sex offenders," he told the Herald.

"I've been a strong advocate for the system of electronic tagging and I will renew my calls for this system to be brought in here."