herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

'I thought my father was dead... now I believe he's this evil rapist in a Dublin jail'

Michael Murphy, originally from Mayo, is a convicted killer and rapist serving life in Arbour Hill.
Michael Murphy, originally from Mayo, is a convicted killer and rapist serving life in Arbour Hill.

A woman has spoken of her shock after discovering the man she believes to be her father - and whom she thought died in 1987 - is a rapist and killer serving life in a Dublin jail.

Evil Michael Murphy (60) is being held in Dublin's Arbour Hill Prison for viciously assaulting and raping a tourist in a Dublin hotel after being invited back to her room in March 2007.

English woman Sharon (28) has now written to the psychopathic criminal and hopes that he will agree to let her visit him in jail.

She told the Herald she has "so many questions that she needs him to answer" as she is convinced the criminal is her father.

Born in Co Mayo, Murphy moved with his family to the UK in the 1960s. After being convicted of robbery in 1970, he was sent to a reform school.

In 1975, he killed his father, described in court as a violent alcoholic, and was given an 18-month suspended sentence.

Over the following years Murphy accumulated 16 other convictions for robbery and assault until he was jailed indefinitely in 1994 for raping a woman and killing her by stabbing her 33 times.

TEARS

He was detained in a secure mental institution in Manchester until his escape in 2006 less than a year before he raped the woman after meeting her in a pub in Temple Bar.

Mother-of-two Sharon says she only found out about the person whom she believes to be her dad when she and her mother recently entered his name in Google.

A photograph of the serial offender showed up which was recognised by her mother and led to both women bursting into tears.

Tracking the criminal down was made difficult because Murphy regularly used the alias Michael Barrett when he lived in England.

Speaking to the Herald yesterday from her home in Stoke-on-Trent, Sharon explained she was born in Brixton in 1986 and was adopted by a family three years later. She lost contact with her birth mother for 16 years.

"I had always been told that my father, Michael Murphy, had died of cancer in 1987 while serving a prison sentence.

"This information was provided by social services in England, but I always had a gut feeling that my dad could still be alive especially after I got in touch with my mother when I was aged 19.

"Last week, I was with my mother and we were Googling my dad's name and I put Manchester into the search engine instead of London and all the details of his crimes showed up. To say I was shocked would be a major understatement.

"He has many of the same facial characteristics that I have, including my nose, mouth and the jaw area. I had no idea about his past.

"I was born after my parents had a relationship of around six months. They had split up and my dad was in prison by the time my mother realised she was pregnant with me.

"It is very possible that he does not know about me, that he does not know he has a daughter. I want him to know about me, I have so much to ask him about," Sharon explained.

"My mother always said that during their relationship he was in fact very shy. How could you change from being like that to a rapist in the space of eight years?

"For the past week, I have thought about his crimes and his victims, I want to ask him about all these things. I need to ask him what made him turn into a rapist.

"I think his crimes are absolutely appalling and I can't make any excuse for what he did. I want to hear what he has to say about it all," Sharon said.

The 28-year-old said she did not wish for her photograph or surname to be used over fears of a "public backlash".

Sharon's main hope is that Murphy replies to the correspondence that she sent him in Arbour Hill Prison and agrees to meet her there.

When Murphy was sentenced to life in prison at the Central Criminal Court in June, 2009, Mr Justice George Birmingham said he was a highly dangerous man whose threat to society is ongoing.

He said a life sentence for rape was unusual but these were exceptional circumstances because he was at large for a truly appalling rape.

WARRANT

Mr Justice Birmingham acknowledged there was a European arrest warrant out for Murphy and he may be extradited back to the UK. It later emerged that Murphy was free to attack for 71 days because of red tape delays with the warrant.

A member of the travelling community, Murphy escaped from a secure psychiatric unit in November 2006 and travelled back to his native Ireland.

At his trial at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin, a jury found him guilty of raping the woman, a civil servant, on March 20, 2007.

The court heard how the woman and her friend had invited Murphy to their hotel.

When her friend fell asleep, the woman tried to get him to leave the room. Instead, he beat and raped her in the bathroom.

Detectives from Pearse Street Garda station arrested Murphy minutes after the rape, cowering in a closet at the hotel.

Det Sgt Mark Kavanagh said that when the accused was asked why gardai found him hiding in a closet, he replied that he could not find his way out of the hotel and had fallen asleep there.

hnews@herald.ie

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