RAPIST Larry Murphy is in secure accommodation today after finally agreeing to consider undertaking counselling.
His involvement with the Probation Service will be voluntary and comes about as a result of the widespread hostile reaction he encountered since being turned loose from prison on Thursday last.
Although he snubbed all previous offers of treatment, he came to realise that he needed help from probation officers in getting accommodation. In return, he agreed to voluntarily keep in touch with them and consider using other support services, such as counselling.
There would be nothing to prevent him from opting out of contact with the probation service at a later date.
Murphy (45) was released from prison after serving 10 years of a 15-year sentence for the attempted murder, rape, and kidnapping of a young businesswoman.
Following intensive publicity and public reaction to his release, Justice Minister Dermot Ahern intervened to urge that the Probation Service and gardai to do their utmost to persuade Murphy to engage with a rehabilitation programme. He was at a secret location today provided by the Probation Service.
He sought refuge in Kevin Street Garda Station in Dublin on Friday night after being pursued by the media and verbally abused by members of the public as he returned from a day trip to Cork.
The Probation Service had had no involvement with him because he had refused to avail of support services prior to his release. He was encouraged over the weekend to accept help from probation officers by senior gardai and a prison chaplain whom he called for help.
Two Facebook pages have been set up. One, 'Don't let Larry Murphy out', has more than 20,000 followers, and includes a link to an online petition "to have Larry Murphy hung". Another Facebook page -- 'Larry Murphy location tracker' -- is followed by 4,300 people; while 'Beware Rapist' posters have been distributed near his former home at Baltinglass, Co Wicklow.
The rapist is being monitored by the Garda's National Surveillance Unit, with plainclothes officers following him. He carries a mobile phone and reports to gardai daily.
It is believed women who work in prostitution have been on their guard since Murphy's release. A spokeswoman for a support group said that women who work as prostitutes are at risk every day and not just when "a known sex offender" is released from prison. There are a lot of dangerous men and a huge level of violence which goes unreported most of the time, she said.
It was reported yesterday that Murphy did carpentry work for the grandmother of missing teenager Deirdre Jacob.
The 18-year-old disappeared while walking home in 1998. Murphy did some work at her grandmother's shop in Newbridge before her disappearance. Deirdre visited the shop on the day she disappeared.
ANDREW LYNCH: Page 15