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Residents gripped by fear surround city halfway house

AN angry crowd gathered outside a Government-run halfway house for ex-convicts in after rumours circulated that suspected serial killer Larry Murphy was there.

A group of at least 200 protesters gathered at the premises at Priorswood House on Clonshaugh Avenue in Coolock, chanting "get him out".

At one stage gardai had to step in as some protesters tried to jump a fence to gain access to the facility.

The country has been gripped by fear since 10.17am yesterday when Larry Murphy walked free from Arbour Hill Prison.

The angry scenes came hours after Murphy was released after serving ten-and-a-half years into a 15-year sentence for the violent rape and attempted murder of a Carlow businesswoman in 2000.

Gardai last night denied Murphy was staying at the Department of Justice-built facility in Coolock.



Fear

The director of Priorswood House, Lisa Cuthbert, also insisted Murphy was not staying there.

"We understand the fear -- it's perfectly natural -- but this kind of response isn't helpful," she said.

One local resident who took part in the demonstration said that Murphy should still be behind bars where he is no threat to women.

"I can't understand why he was let out in the first place," he said.

"Look at the reaction of the people here. I have two daughters aged 24 and 32. People are in fear."

By late last night, much of the crowd had dispersed.

Last night's drama came after a tense day when Larry Murphy was tracked by scores of gardai and the garda helicopter, which hovered over Dublin city for the entire afternoon yesterday.

A senior garda source said his current location was known to them and that he was under observation.

"As is the case with all sex offenders, a plan is put in place to manage them on their release. The plan is working," the source said.



Attacked

Yesterday's release was the focus of much media scrutiny and Murphy was followed through the morning traffic by photographers on motorcycles.

It is understood gardai were fearful that if Murphy was followed to and pictured at a particular address, he might be attacked there by members of the public.

Gardai investigating the disappearance of six women in the Leinster area, as part of Operation Trace, were extremely interested in Murphy and he continues to be the prime suspect in the disappearances of Jo Jo Dullard (21), Deirdre Jacob (18) and Annie McCarrick (26).

Despite making a number of attempts to question Murphy over the disappearances he has so far refused to cooperate with investigators.



Counselling

The DPP was told that Murphy, had shown no remorse. When he was told of how the injured woman was suffering, he replied: "Well, she's alive isn't she?"

The violent rapist has never sought counselling and refused offers of rehabilitation during his decade long stay at Arbour Hill Prison.

Murphy applied for a driving licence and passport while in jail and he can now travel anywhere in the EU.


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