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John O'Keeffe: Ahern hasn't done nearly enough to protect women from this threat

The release today of rapist Larry Murphy has understandably caught the attention of the national media.

It is unnecessary to pore over the details of his offence; save to remark that there is little dispute amongst criminologists when the Garda asserts that he remains the biggest single threat to the lives and safety of young women in Ireland.

Our Justice Minister, however, appears to be the only person in the country who doesn't seem to have woken up to Murphy's release. Many have demanded the revocation of Murphy's right to 25pc remission from his sentence. Yet Dermot Ahern's woeful response has been that there was and is nothing he can do on the matter.

Nonsense. He could have introduced legislation to the Dail last year that would, at the very least, have curtailed the right of automatic remission of 25pc of offender's sentences when they posed a threat on release. His full sentence should at least have been served and Minister Ahern did nothing to ensure this occurred.


Furthermore, electronic tagging of sex offenders was also meant to be rolled out but where is that now, Minister?

But perhaps most astonishing of all is that Murphy is not obliged to tell the Garda where he is living until the seventh day after his release so he go anywhere, committing any heinous crime, for the first six. In short, Mr Ahern has done nothing to protect women from future attacks by Larry Murphy.

And when it comes to Murphy, this protection is desperately needed. There is ample academic research which shows that, when it comes to psychopaths who commit violent crimes or kill, repeat offences are guaranteed.

Murphy's refusal to accept offers of therapy, counselling and help in prison coupled with his criminal and public profile suggest an A1-type psychopath -- in short he ticks all the boxes.

His severe psychological disorder is of huge concern to the public as interventions, medical or otherwise, will be futile.

He exhibits the full range of psychopathic traits. Lack of empathy with victims, their family, and society in general is customary. Murphy went further and not only showed a clinical disregard for the primeval cries of his female victim, he even managed to discuss his own family with his victim, and later calmly getting into his wife's bed following his frenzied attack.


Criminal psychopaths do not exhibit moral guilt or culpability for their crimes and Murphy has consistently shown a stunning lack of concern for his actions. This ability to "decouple" himself from any savage attacks bodes ill for the female public from today onwards.

The real shame in all of this is that we have a Justice Minister who has done nothing to protect woman from a man whose DNA has been mapped in a place of unknown evil.

It is to be sincerely hoped that Mr Ahern does not end up regretting his inaction.

John O'Keeffe is a criminologist, currently engaged in research into psychopathic abusers at Cambridge University