Convicted rapist Larry Murphy released from jail

Convicted rapist Larry Murphy has been released from Dublin’s Arbour Hill prison after serving 10½ years of a 15-year jail term…

Convicted rapist Larry Murphy has been released from Dublin’s Arbour Hill prison after serving 10½ years of a 15-year jail term, one year of which was suspended.

Wearing a black hooded top, baseball cap and sunglasses, Murphy (45), a father of two from Baltinglass in Co Wicklow, got into a taxi outside the prison in the north inner city shortly after 10am.

The taxi was followed by a number of photographers on motorcycles as the Garda helicopter circled the skies above monitoring the chase.

A group of around 50 reporters, photographers and camera crews had gathered outside the prison by the time Mr Murphy walked through the gates of the jail, having served the sentence imposed on him in 2001.

After being driven from the jail, he switched into a second taxi at a location near the Phoenix Park. He was then driven to Coolock, where he walked into the local Garda station. It is not clear why he went to the station but it appears it may have been to halt the media’s pursuit of him across the city or to lodge a complaint with gardaí about the fact he was being followed.

Journalists had begun gathering outside Arbour Hill prison, which holds sex offenders, on Tuesday in anticipation the prison authorities might release him early to avoid the large media presence.

However, he was detained until this morning, when his sentence was served in full. He was jailed for 15 years in 2001 for the repeated rape and attempted murder of a woman he abducted from a car park in Carlow in 2000.

One year of the 15-year term was suspended. He was entitled, as all prisoners are, to 25 per cent remission on the remaining 14 years imposed.

Because he was never granted bail following his arrest in 2000, his sentence was backdated to the date of his arrest. This meant he effectively had one year of his term of imprisonment served by the time he was convicted and sentenced.

Murphy’s case has been the focus of intense media interest in recent months as his release approached. Much of the coverage has linked him to the disappearance and presumed murder of a number of women in the Leinster area in the 1990s including Annie McCarrick, Deirdre Jacob and Jo Jo Dullard.

However, gardaí have never found any evidence linking him to any of these cases.

In 2000, Murphy kidnapped his victim from a car park in Carlow town, drove her into the Wicklow mountains, raped her several times and threw her into his car with a shopping bag over her head in an apparent attempt to suffocate her.

The woman in her mid-20s was saved when two hunters stumbled upon the scene late at night, causing him to flee in his car. The attack scene was just three kilometres from the home he shared with his wife and two children. He was arrested at home a short time later after one of the men who disturbed the attack recognised him.

Speaking yesterday, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said that while the release was “understandably a cause of concern”, all of the State agencies that deal with the release of sex offenders had held a number of conferences planning for the release.

Under the provisions of the Sex Offenders Act, released sex offenders must inform gardaí where they plan to reside within seven days of their release. They must also notify gardaí of any change of address.

In the event they decide to relocate overseas, which they are entitled to and which Murphy is expected to, they must inform gardaí of their address in that jurisdiction. Gardaí then inform the police service of that country.

Any failure on the part of the offender to comply with these measures is a criminal offence.

Like all sex offenders, Murphy will be monitored by members of the force based in the area where he plans to reside, assuming he stays in Ireland. All sightings of him and any intelligence received about him will be regularly recorded on the Garda’s computerised Pulse database.

All updates on the system will be sent to the Garda’s sex offenders management and intelligence unit. The unit will liaise with a nominated Garda inspector in the area where Murphy resides to co-ordinate his monitoring and plan any action to be taken against him in the event his behaviour becomes problematic.

In a statement last night explaining its policy in the area, the Garda said its “clear focus at all times is on the safety of all individuals in the community”.

Earlier this week, the Rape Crisis Network Ireland said the release highlights major flaws in the legal system. The network said the legal system should ensure all serious offender sentences should have pre-release risk assessment built into them to reduce the risk to the public. This should include the right to keep high-risk likely reoffenders in custody until they showed they were not a threat, it said.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, his brother Tom Murphy said the last few weeks leading up to the release had been "very stressful" due to the large media presence outside his home.

Mr Murphy said he has not had contact with his brother since 2005 and he doesn’t want to have any contact with him.

“The people of Baltinglass are fearful, they just don’t know where they stand. All I can say to them is I will not be having him here…under no circumstances will Larry be coming to me," he said.  “I don’t think he’ll make an effort to contact me and I wouldn’t be accepting a call from him.

“Basically I just want to get back to a normal life. My kids are here for the last five weeks are prisoners in this house," Mr Murphy added. No matter where you go you’re looking over your shoulder for media…I just don’t want to live like that and I can’t live like that.”

Asked whether he was concerned about his brother’s safety, Mr Murphy said: “The way I look at it is Larry Murphy chose to do what he did and it’s up to himself where he goes and what he does. All I can say is I hope no other women has to suffer.”