Larry Murphy – convicted rapist and suspected serial killer

An ordinary man by society’s standards

Larry Murphy was a 36-year-old carpenter. He lived in Balitinglass, Wicklow for his whole life. He had been married to his wife for six years and the couple had two children aged 2 and 4. His wife was also pregnant with their third child. He is described as having had a normal relationship with his six other siblings and his parents. On a small number of occasions he was visited in prison by his mother and brother. He offered them no explanation for the attack other than: “I just flipped.” The family have now severed ties with Murphy.

The Crime

In 2001, Larry Murphy was sentenced to a 15 year prison sentence for the rape and attempted murder of a Carlow businesswoman in her mid 20s. It is believed that he had stalked the woman for over a month before following her into a secluded car park after she had finished work in February, 2000. Murphy punched the woman and forced her into the boot of his car. He stripped her and drove nine miles out of Carlow. The victim recalls how he had music blasting from the radio in a bid to drown out her screams.

He stopped the car on a dirt track in Beaconstown where he raped the young woman. Murphy then put her back into the car and proceeded to drive another 14 miles into the Wicklow Mountains where he brutally beat and repeatedly raped her again.

While they were in Beaconstown Murphy had spoken to the woman about his family and his life. This made him identifiable if he let her go, leaving the victim certain that he intended to kill her. She was right.

Following his series of sexual assaults he then used her bra to tie a gag around her mouth and he put a plastic bag over her head. He was in the process of strangling the woman when he was disturbed by two local hunters. Murphy panicked and drove off. He headed for the Stratford Arms pub where he ordered a bottle of whiskey before going home and having sex with his wife.

The victim initially believed that the two huntsmen were accomplices of Murphy. After reassuring her that they wanted to help, they took her to the local garda station where she recalled the events of the night and made a statement to the police.

One of the men, Trevor Moody, recognised Murphy. This was because a week earlier Murphy had made an aggressive lunge at a female friend of Moody’s in a pub in Donard, Wicklow. Due to the large number of people in the pub the incident did not escalate into anything further. However the incident enabled Moody to positively identify Murphy as the attacker. At 8.20 am the following morning, gardaí called to Murphy’s house to arrest him.

More Crimes?

Murphy’s work was very meticulous, very well planned and very cunning. This degree of preparation in addition to the savagery of the abduction, rape and attempted murder suggest an accomplished killer.

The gardaí subsequently began to review and assemble evidence on Ireland’s missing women. “Operation Trace” revealed that in the last six years – 1993 to 1998 – six women aged between 17 and 28 had disappeared without a trace on the east coast near the Wicklow Mountains. Murphy immediately became a suspect in their disappearances.

The gardaí have employed a number of methods to extract information on these crimes from Murphy but he has refused to cooperate with their investigation. He has also never made any effort to clear his name. As long as he refuses to talk to them that suspicion remains.

The Wicklow Mountains

The Wicklow Mountains are a Mecca to all types of criminals. They have been used for many different forms of criminal activities including murder, rape, hiding drugs and hiding money. The IRA and other criminals have used them in firing ranges while Martin ‘The General” Cahill used them to hide some of the world’s most valuable paintings which he had stolen from Russborough House.

It appeals to such a variety of criminals due to the fact that it is remote and isolated. This means that it is possible to carry out serious crime there with very little risk of disturbance or discovery.

There is also great opportunity for the disruption of evidence. Once a body is taken to the mountains and buried there, the culprit is increasingly likely to get away with their crime, the longer it remains undetected. Nature begins to take its course and decay and decomposition occurs. Wildlife also may also consume the body.

Ten years later

On August 13, 2010 Larry Murphy was released from Arbour Hill Prison. He served 10 and a half years of his fifteen year jail sentence.

Upon hearing of his early release the woman who had been subjected to one of the most horrific assaults that had ever come before the courts wrote to the then Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern. She asked him to reconsider letting Murphy out. The minister replied that his hands were tied. There was nothing he could do as Murphy was entitled to 25% off his sentence for good behaviour.

Despite his status as “a model prisoner”, during his time in Arbour Hill Murphy never participated in any form of treatment. He never once sat in a counselling session and he has never shown remorse for his actions or made it clear that he will not reoffend.

He was also jailed one month prior to the sex offender’s law coming into place. This means that he is not subject to a post release supervision order. Experts believe that he is a very high risk offender and that there may very well be a next time.

Mark E Safarik was a senior member of the FBI’s elite behavioural analysis unit. He describes Murphy’s behaviour as psychopathic. He further states that the ferocity of his attack is a cause for concern. This is because offenders who engage in excessive injury of victims are engaging in a need driven behaviour likely to be repeated in future crimes.

Murphy’s release caused a frenzy among the Irish population. A man who had never come to the attention of the guards before February 2000 suddenly became the most media exposed sex offender in the history of the Irish state.

And now?

Following his release from prison, the Baltinglass community came together in an effort to prepare for the possible return of Murphy. However there have been no accounts of him revisiting the area.

The Irish media were also very active in attempting to track his movements. This resulted in Murphy lodging a compliant to gardaí about press intrusion.

Rattled by the level of interest in him, Murphy sought refuge at Kevin Street Garda Station before fleeing the country three days later.

His exact location is currently unknown to the public, however the gardaí are aware of where he is. He is believed to be somewhere in eastern Europe.

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