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PJ Browne: Women will be terrified with Murphy on the loose

THE impending early release of suspected serial killer and rapist Larry Murphy has generated major public interest.

And so it should. Wherever this individual appears, women will be struck with fear.

It is worryingly fitting that his first full day of freedom will be Friday the 13th of August. I recognise the parameters that the parole board has to work under, but one must ask if change is required to help contain the likes of Murphy.

People are rightly concerned as to how this man will be monitored on his release and his presence on the street will provide a headache for detectives.

One complicating factor is the report that Murphy failed to get treatment for his predictions while in prison. Essentially, he will pose the same danger next month as he did when he committed his last offence, the kidnap and rape of a young woman in the Wicklow Mountains.

Murphy will be placed on the Sex Offenders' Register. He must notify gardai of his address and give notice of his movements.



LEAD

That's a start, but I have no doubt that gardai in any area that Murphy visits or wishes to reside in would take a special interest in his behaviour regardless.

Local detectives will collate his presence and actions so that all information on Murphy will be available to every garda throughout the country, more or less instantly, via the Pulse system.

In this respect the public have an important part to play in tipping off of the gardai to Murphy's whereabouts.

Such local information can give officers a vital lead on an individual like Murphy, particularly since he has a history of attacking in remote areas well known to him.

The superintendent of the area Murphy resides in will brief all his staff that everything Murphy does must be made the subject of a Pulse record, however minor.

The Garda management team will at all times be aware of his movements.

Murphy's profile, modus operandi and recent picture will also be circulated internally to gardai.



PRYING

Local officers are entitled to exercise stop and search powers when they encounter Murphy, on foot or travelling in a vehicle.

But, of course, unless he is suspected of carrying out a fresh offence they will not be able to arrest him.

We recently saw the case of convicted rapist Michael Murray, who went to the High Court to demand the right to a private life -- away from the prying of the press.

Murphy may also demand that his right to privacy be respected, that his location not be known and that the press should not publish pictures and articles about him.

As a convicted rapist his whereabouts are of paramount importance.

As the High Court pointed out to Michael Murray the public's right to know is all important.

And so is the public's right to safety.

Larry Murphy represents a most serious threat to that safety. We can expect a major -- if covert -- garda operation to monitor him from next month.

PJ Browne is a former detective superintendent with over 35 years experience policing serious crime


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