Man sexually assaulted two women in Dublin days after release from jail, court hears

Philip Murphy (40) grabbed victims from behind as they walked on their own in early hours

Man had just been released from serving a 10-year prison sentence for falsely imprisoning a woman, court  heard.  Photograph: Dave Meehan

Man had just been released from serving a 10-year prison sentence for falsely imprisoning a woman, court heard. Photograph: Dave Meehan


A predator who sexually assaulted two women in Dublin city centre had just been released from serving a 10-year prison sentence for falsely imprisoning a woman, a court has heard.

Philip Murphy (40) got out of prison two days before he attacked his two victims in February 2016, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard on Tuesday. He was extradited from the UK earlier this year following lengthy legal argument.

Murphy, of no fixed abode in the Dublin 8 area, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexually assaulting the two women at Jervis Lane and O’Rahilly Parade in Dublin on February 25th, 2016. He will be sentenced next February.

During both incidents, Murphy grabbed the woman from behind as they were walking on their own through the city in the early hours of the morning, told them he wanted to have sex with them and said he was going to kill them.

“You’re going to die tonight,” he repeatedly told one victim.

Detective Garda Emma Ryan told Philipp Rahn BL, prosecuting, that Murphy’s first victim was walking home from her work in a restaurant shortly after midnight on the night in question when Murphy grabbed her from behind by the mouth. He told the woman: “Don’t scream or I’m going to kill you. I just want to f**k. I can pay you for it.”

The woman was terrified, but tried to lead Murphy along the road towards help before screaming loudly, the court heard. People in nearby apartments looked out their windows at the sound of the screaming, causing Murphy to flee. The woman also ran home before contacting gardaí.

Twenty minutes later, another woman was walking along Moore Street, on her way to work when Murphy came up behind her, put his hand over her mouth and pushed her into O’Rahilly Parade.

He stroked her shoulder and touched her chest area, repeatedly telling her: “You’re going to die tonight,” the court heard.

“He was looking at me like I was naked, like I was a piece of meat,” the woman told gardaí. “He kept telling me I was going to die, that he was going to cut my throat.”

A man walked past and the woman tried to scream, as Murphy squeezed her throat. The passer-by looked their way and a passing bin truck driver also noticed her calling for help. Murphy again fled the scene and the men came to the woman’s aid.

CCTV footage

Gardaí at Store Street began an investigation and scoured CCTV footage of both areas. In footage of the first incident, Murphy could be seen putting on a pair of gloves before jogging after the first victim. In footage of the second incident, he could also be seen walking closely behind the woman.

Murphy’s probation officers and former prison officers identified him from the footage. He had been released from prison just two days prior to the incident after serving the bulk of a 10-year sentence for false imprisonment.

He has 10 previous convictions in total, including public order offences and production of a Stanley knife.

Murphy was arrested, questioned and released without charge while a file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

During the Garda interview, Murphy denied carrying out the offences. He said he had received psychological treatment in prison and “didn’t treat women like that anymore”. He also claimed he was gay and no longer attracted to women.

A decision was made to charge him in October 2017, but by then he could not be located, Det Gda Ryan said.

Murphy was eventually arrested in July 2019 in the UK on foot of a European arrest warrant. He remained in custody in the UK for nearly a year due to legal issues before being extradited to Ireland in June this year. He has been in custody ever since.

Judge Melanie Greally noted that any sentence handed down to Murphy would require a lengthy probation period. She adjourned the matter to February 24 next year to allow for a Probation Services report. A plea of mitigation will also be heard then.

‘Stole my dreams’

In victim impact statements read out by counsel, the first woman said she started losing hair in the wake of the assault. She said she was depressed and sad and ended up leaving Ireland to return to her home in Mexico.

She said she had hoped to study for a Masters degree in Ireland, but Murphy “stole my dreams from me”.

“I don’t wish him harm, just justice,” she said.

The second woman said she became a different person after the attack. She said she can no longer walk alone at night or do shift work and suffers from depression and anxiety.

“This man has taken my confidence and filled me with fear,” she said.