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Evil rapist Murphy 'home in Ireland to visit a sick relative'

CONVICTED rapist Larry Murphy was today reported to be back in Ireland.

The suspected serial killer fled to Spain earlier this month escape the glare of media publicity after his release from jail.

However, unconfirmed reports today said he had been spotted near his native Baltinglass, Co Wicklow.

Murphy (45) was said to have visited a sick relative in the area and to have been seen out walking yesterday morning.

The notorious criminal was freed from Arbour Hill prison in early August, after serving 10 years of a 15-year sentence for a brutal attack on a woman in the Wicklow Mountains.

He reportedly moved to the Costa del Sol and the Malaga area in the south of Spain in an attempt to avoid the intense media attention that followed his release.

Under the terms of his release, Murphy has to inform gardai were he is living.

He successfully applied for a passport and driving licence while in prison and as a EU citizen is entitled to travel anywhere in Europe.

He has been under close garda surveillance since he was released from prison and was watched by several undercover detectives during a visit to Cork.

Fears had been growing locally that the sex attacker would return to the Baltinglass area where his ex-wife and family have rebuilt their lives.

But according to reports, Murphy moved to Spain at the start of the September, with gardai said to have provided Spanish police with photos and background information about the high-profile sex attacker.

Murphy, a former carpenter from Baltinglass, pleaded guilty to the rape and attempted murder of a young woman in February 2000 after she survived a vicious sex attack.

He repeatedly raped her before putting a shopping bag over her head in the boot of his car in a secluded spot in the mountains.

His victim was saved when two late-night hunters stumbled across the scene and recognised Murphy, who fled and was arrested the following morning at his home.

Murphy was also investigated as part of Operation Trace, a garda inquiry into the disappearance of several women in Leinster, including Annie McCarrick (26), Jo Jo Dullard (22) and teenager Deirdre Jacob.

His early release from Arbour Hill prison last month sparked outrage across the country and prompted a major debate over automatic 25pc remission for inmates for "good behaviour".