Rapist seeks to restrain newspapers
A serial rapist has commenced High Court proceedings which he hopes will prevent several newspapers from publishing photographs of him and details of his address.
Barrister Eoin Mc Cullough, SC, counsel for the newspapers, told a judge that Michael Murray had attempted to conceal his previous convictions from the court.
Mr McCullough said Murray had not told the court of a previous conviction and imprisonment for rape in the UK as well as indecent exposure in front of children, larceny and intent to do bodily harm.
Paul O’Higgins, SC, counsel for Murray, who was jailed in 1996 for the “horrific rape” of four women in less than a week, told the High Court Murray was the victim of “an orgy of publicity” since his release from Castlerea Prison last year.
Murray has asked Ms Justice Mary Irvine for a permanent injunction restraining The Star, The Star on Sunday, The Sun, Evening Herald and the News of the World from publishing his address or pictures of him.
He claims he is being kept on the run from one address to another and is unable to hold down a job because of the publicity he alleges is aided by gardai passing his new addresses to the newspapers.
Murray (49), originally from Dublin’s south inner city, raped four women and sexually assaulted two others over a six day period in 1995. Two of his victims said at his trial they believed he was going to strangle them. He was jailed in 1996 for 18 years and served 13.
The court heard that since his release in July last year The Star and its sister Star on Sunday had carried stories headlined: “Serial Sex Beast is Free to Roam the Streets;” “Monster in Our Midst;” “Serial Rape Beast Goes Underground” and “Sex Attack Monster has Job in Hospital.”
The Evening Herald had published a large front page picture under the headline: “A Danger to Women.” It had followed up with: “Public must know where he lives;” “Predator” and “Sex Beast now Lives in Flat Close to School.”
The Sun and the News of the World had headlined stories about his living beside a girls’ school. Both papers had asked readers that if they had seen “this beast” to contact their reporters.
Mr O’Higgins, who appeared with Philipp Rahn, said Mr Murray had been put in a situation where he was now living in B&Bs and hotel rooms until his identity was discovered through publicity and then moved on. He had to give up a job as gardener in St Mary’s Hospital, Phoenix Park, Dublin.
On one occasion a photographer and reporter had turned up at his address with two gardai who seemed to be there simply to get him open the door to be photographed, which he was. The picture had appeared with a story claiming to have tracked down the beast to his lair.
Mr O’Higgins told the court Mr Murray prior to leaving prison had to undertake to co-operate with a Probation Officer and sign the sex offenders’ register which required him to notify gardai of any change in address. He had undergone rehabilitation while in prison.
Murray claimed in an affidavit to the court that because of the publicity and the effect it had on his retaining a permanent address he had been finding it difficult to comply with his reporting obligations under the Sex Offenders’ Act and with the Probation Service.
Judge Irvine will sit in the High Court tomorrow morning to hear further legal argument by Mr O’Higgins on Murray’s behalf.