Girl (13) praised for fighting off attacker
A JUDGE has praised the courage of a teenage girl who struggled free of her attacker.
A 13-year prison sentence was imposed on the man, who has a conviction for rape, for the attempted abduction of the 13-year-old girl. The charges against him also included the attempted abduction of a 20-year-old woman in a separate incident.
At Mullingar Circuit Court yesterday, Judge Tony Hunt described Dermot Murphy (43), Atlantic Coast Apartments, Tramore, Co Waterford, as a serious and dangerous recidivist offender, with a serious perversion.
He also disqualified him from driving for life, saying a vehicle seemed to be “a significant tool” for Murphy, who pulled up beside both victims and tried to drag them into his white van.
He had stopped both for directions and had intended to sexually assault both of them.
He admitted assault, attempted abduction and attempted child trafficking of the midlands girl, who was cycling to her friend’s house when he attacked her.
Judge Hunt said it was only her bravery, strength, clear presence of mind and sense of purpose that saved her from the appalling fate that Murphy had in mind for her.
Her top came off and she fell as she struggled with Murphy and was half-naked as she kicked and bit him before she managed to escape to a neighbour’s house.
Judge Hunt said her astute attention to detail led to Murphy’s arrest.
While in custody, he admitted attempting to abduct and threatening to kill a 20-year-old woman who was walking on a rural road in Laois in 2007.
She also struggled as he tried to pull her into the back of his van, but he fled when he was spooked by an approaching lorry.
Judge Hunt noted that all the evidence that led to Murphy being charged and convicted for the Laois offence was given by him, as the victim did not recognise him in an identity parade.
He referred to Murphy’s previous conviction for raping, falsely imprisoning and committing aggravated sexual assault on a 12-year-old girl in 1997.
He said treatment he received while serving almost seven years for those offences had not been effective.
Murphy required further rehabilitation and he ordered close Probation Service supervision for 10 years following his release. He was at high risk of reoffending, and the judge noted his unhappy childhood. He had been friends at a young age with a man who had groomed teenage girls and Murphy had watched as he sexually assaulted them.
Judge Hunt took Murphy’s co-operation, his remorse and his willingness to engage in treatment into consideration, but said he was a serious danger to girls aged between nine and 14 years.
All attempts to manage his behaviour in the past had been unsuccessful, he said, ordering that post-release, he must inform gardaí of his whereabouts for the rest of his life.