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Why jail chiefs put serial killer suspect Murphy in padded cells

SERIAL killer suspect Larry Murphy was put in padded cells at two prisons, it's revealed today.

At one stage he was considered at extreme risk of taking his own life while in Cloverhill jail. Prison sources said he spent time "in the pad" -- the padded cells in the early days of his incarceration.

Behind the cold exterior Murphy, serving 15 years for rape, was in turmoil, according to prison staff.


On the first occasion, when he surprised observers by changing his plea to guilty, he collapsed in court.

Minutes after the plea was made in the crowded courtroom a dull thud was heard and Murphy was on the floor.

But after his early traumas he settled into the prison regime without any difficulty.

Moved to the Arbour Hill prison, which accommodates mainly sex offenders, he settled down to take courses in carpentry, his own trade.

He has made furniture for charities, staff and fellow inmates and is described as an excellent tradesman.

Staff at Mountjoy recall that before he was caught after the terrifying rape in the Wicklow Mountains, for which he was sentenced, he worked in Mountjoy jail.

"He was working with a firm contracted to do work here," said a veteran officer.

"He hung doors and did other carpentry work in the officers' mess."


But throughout his detention, which comes to an end in just over a month, he has essentially remained a loner.

"He has not befriended any prisoner but is in every way an exemplary prisoner. He communicates well with a number of staff"

He has not been "on report" for P19s -- breaches of prison discipline -- and has given no trouble. Visits to him have been rare with his brother Tom and members of the garda 'cold case review' team, being the only occasional visitors.

His wife Margaret has not visited him since he changed his plea to guilty and he has not seen his youngest son, born after he was arrested.

The gardai are still examining a number of files on the "missing women" in a bid to eliminate Murphy for their inquiries.

Sources indicate that because of his profile in the media, he may be moved to another institution just prior to his release.

He has not co-operated by taking a rehabilitation course but will be placed on the sex offenders' register.