| 8.6°C Dublin

Five brutal sex attackers behind bars

FIVE brutal sex monsters were beginning the first day of their prison sentences today after being convicted of a spate of sickening sex crimes.

IN a case first highlighted in the Herald last year, rapist Dermot Murphy (43) - described as one of Ireland's "most dangerous men" - was caged for 13 years after he tried to drag a 13-year-old girl into the back of his van after asking her for directions on a Midlands road.

She lost her top in the struggle to get away from him and fought half-naked on the ground, kicking and biting him before she was able to get free.



Forced

Judge Tony Hunt in Mullingar Circuit Court described the teenager as "a very brave and strong young woman," who remembered details which helped the garda investigation.

After his arrest, Murphy admitted he'd tried to abduct a 20-year-old woman in Laois in 2007 as she was out walking. He tried to drag her into the back of the van.

Murphy, who is originally from Athlone, Co Westmeath, but had been living in Tramore, Co Waterford, was previously jailed in 1997 for raping a 12-year-old girl.

The Central Criminal Court heard in June 1998 that Murphy pretended he was looking for directions when he stopped beside the girl. He forced her into the car and drove to a bog where he sexually assaulted her.

But while Murphy has been on the garda radar for years, yesterday saw men who were previously well regarded in their communities being handed lengthy sentences for sex crimes.

At Naas Circuit Court in Co Kildare, Hubert Gannon (66) of Moorefield Park, Newbridge, was sentenced to six years in prison after he pleaded guilty to numerous cases of sexual assault on his daughter and four other girls, when they were all between the ages of five and eight, in the 1970s.

In summing up the case, Judge Leonie Reynolds outlined the devastating effect the crimes had had on the victims, saying that the Victim Impact Statement of the defendant's daughter Caroline Storey made for "harrowing reading".



Molesting

And at Carlow Circuit Court - three brothers John (58), Christopher (55) and Thomas (51) Sheehan were all handed jail sentences after they admitted molesting two little girls more than 30 years ago.

The abuse had such a devastating impact that one of the victims committed suicide.

Meanwhile, on-the-run rapist Edward Connors (19) of Labre Park, Ballyfermot, Dublin, was charged with failing to notify gardai of his name, address and date of birth.

Connors has been on the run from police in the North after failing to attend a hearing at Belfast Magistrates' Court.

kfoy@herald.ie