herald

Thursday 27 November 2014

A vicious rape in woods -- and links to three missing women

Larry Murphy earned his reputation as one of the most feared and hated criminals in our history when he abducted, raped and almost killed a woman on one chilling night

The sadistic violence dished out by Murphy on a cold February night in 2000, coupled with the fact that his terrified victim survived only after two hunters happened on the scene, was deeply disturbing.

The predator used all his cunning and know-how to corner and trap a young woman who was finishing up her day's work and about to travel home.

It was around 8.15pm on a Friday evening in Carlow town when he abducted the 26-year-old businesswoman after she opened the door to her car in a secluded carpark.

He demanded her bag, containing the day's takings of IR£700 -- and then hit out, fracturing her nose.

Dazed and shocked, she fell backwards into the car.

Murphy -- then 36 -- ordered the woman to move to the passenger seat and take off her bra, with which he tied her hands.

He then drove her car across a narrow roadway, made her get out and walked her to his own car, putting her in the boot.

The callous rapist turned up his stereo to mask the sound of the woman's efforts to summon help by banging on the inside of the boot -- and drove off.

The nightmare had only just begun.

A keen hunter, Murphy had detailed knowledge of the Wicklow-Kildare-Carlow area.

He drove his victim eight miles from Carlow to an isolated spot called Beaconstown, where he stopped his car and pulled her from the boot, raping her before pretending he was going to take her home.

Recalling the events in a statement to gardai, she said: "I felt so numb, I couldn't move. I just hoped it would all end. I feared for my life the whole time, I thought, 'This is it'."



Aerosol

Murphy then headed into the foothills of the Wicklow mountains and on to an isolated forest track, where he raped her a further three times.

When he had finished, he tied her hands behind her back and again led her back to the boot of the vehicle.

This time she managed to free her hands and tried to spray Murphy with an aerosol can.

But the canister did not work. Murphy overpowered her and put a plastic bag over her head.

The woman struggled but Murphy pulled the plastic tightly over her mouth.

Somehow the terrified rape victim managed to climb out of the boot, but was slipping in and out of consciousness.

Facing certain death, she was only saved when two men out hunting foxes stumbled on the nightmare scene.

Realising the game was up, Murphy jumped into his car and sped away, while his panic-stricken victim ran to a ditch.

Her two saviours, Ken Jones and Trevor Moody, took her to a garda station and identified her attacker, whom they recognised from a previous incident in a local pub.

Meanwhile Murphy went home, went to bed without washing himself and made love to his heavily pregnant wife.

It would be Murphy's last night as a free man for more than a decade, but it is far from being the only crime he has been been associated with.

Murphy was widely though to be linked to the disappearance of six young women between 1993 and 1998 -- mysteries that still grip Ireland.



evidence

A garda 'cold-case' investigation called Operation Trace reviewed the disappearances of Fiona Sinnott, Deirdre Jacob, Jo Jo Dullard, Ciara Breen, Annie McCarrick and Fiona Pender.

Murphy was interviewed in prison about at least three of these cases -- Jo Jo Dullard, Deirdre Jacob and Annie McCarrick -- but refused to co-operate. Ultimately gardai could find no specific evidence linking him to the cases.

But tellingly the disappearances stopped when he was arrested in 2000 and there is little doubt that many senior officers believe that he was responsible for at least some of the murders.

kfoy@herald.ie

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