John Crerar found guilty of Phyllis Murphy murder


Former army sergeant John Crerar (54), has been found guilty of the murder of Philomena Murphy almost 23 years ago.

The jury of six men and six women returned a verdict of guilty for the father-of-five from Woodside Park, Kildare this evening, after deliberating throughout today and yesterday.

During the four-week trial, Crerar had denied the murder of Philomena Murphy (23), who was known as Phyllis, on a date unknown between December 22nd, 1979, and January 18th, 1980.

At the time of her death, Phyllis Murphy was living in digs in Rathangan, Co Kildare. Her body was found, naked and strangled, in a forested area in Co Wicklow on January 18th, 1980. The state pathologist found injuries consistent with rape.

The prosecution said DNA from samples extracted from the body of Phyllis Murphy matched DNA from blood samples given by John Crerar.

The prosecution also called former co-workers of Crerar, who alleged he did not turn up for work at the times he said he did on the night Phyllis Murphy disappeared.

In his address yesterday, Mr Justice Liam McKechnie told the jury it must resolve the "major conflict of evidence" between John Crerar and his former co-worker, Paddy Bolger.

He also reminded them of the evidence of Dr Maureen Smyth of the State Forensic Science Laboratory on DNA analysis that she carried out on blood samples taken from Mr Crerar and samples taken from the body of the deceased.