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Gardai investigate suspect plot close to Murphy's home

Detectives are probing whether this open grave could be linked to serial killer suspect Larry Murphy.

The hidden plot was discovered near Humewood Castle, Co Wicklow – just two miles away from the rapist’s home.

Murphy, due to be released from prison in August, is a suspect for the disappearance of some of the six women missing in Leinster.

Gardai investigated him in relation to the disappearance of Jo Jo Dullard, Deirdre Jacob and Annie McCarrick in the 1990s.

Murphy is serving 10 years for the rape and attempted murder of a Carlow businesswoman. Gardai today confirmed they conducted an examination of the open plot last month and removed earth fragments for analysis.

Gardai were tipped off to the site after local hunters found the grave-sized pit while walking in the area.

Missing woman Jo Jo Dullard was last seen in Moone, Co Kildare, just 13 miles from Humewood Castle.

Murphy has also been questioned about the disappearance of Annie McCarrick in Glencullen, Co Wicklow in 1993, and Deirdre Jacob in Newbridge, Co Kildare, in 1998.

While at large, the rapist lived in the village of Boley, just two miles from the dig site at Humewood Castle. Soil samples taken from the scene did not yield any traces of a body, but gardai confirmed that the investigation was not yet concluded.

Hunters made the discovery of the grave-like hole in 2008. Although it was examined then, a full dig did not take place until three weeks ago.

Earth samples were taken at the site, which lies in woodland just outside the grounds of Humewood Castle, two miles outside the village of Kiltegan.

Larry Murphy is one of the State's most notorious criminals and is due to be released in August after serving ten years for the savage rape and attempted murder of a Carlow businesswoman at the Glen of Imaal, just eight miles from Humewood Castle.

He attacked the woman in a vicious, premeditated attack which saw the woman repeatedly raped in a brutal manner.

One of the men that made the Kiltegan discovery told the Herald how the hole looked remarkably like a grave.

"My friend and I were shooting in the wooded area just outside the grounds of Humewood Castle when we discovered this strange hole," he said. "It was dug out like a grave. It was six feet long, two and a half feet wide and three feet deep.

"It looked like it was dug a number of years ago, there was moss growing in it. It is in a pretty open area and can be seen from the road.

"I discovered the grave two years ago and this is the first time it has been investigated. I went to the gardai again recently and thankfully they examined it."

Local man John Timmins described how the search has sparked rumours in the area.

"There has been a lot of talk in the community, people were suspecting Murphy and wondering if this was a viable grave.

"When he's released he could easily be living in this area."

Inspector Gerry Connolly in Baltinglass Garda Station confirmed to the Herald that an investigation was taking place but nothing of any consequence has been found yet.

"We have investigated the scene and we have taken soil samples," he said. "The samples do not suggest any foul play although we haven't concluded the investigation yet."

Larry Murphy has been linked to the disappearances of three other women in the midlands during the 90s. He was known to have frequented or worked in the areas where Jo Jo Dullard, Deirdre Jacob and Annie McCarrick disappeared.

Murphy has refused to cooperate with the investigations into the disappearances.