'Deliberate' | 

Gardai believe Deirdre Jacobs' killer chose wild animal sanctuary to dispose of body

A senior source said the killer is believed to have deliberately chose this location, knowing any evidence would likely be disturbed by wildlife in the area.

Deirdre Jacob disappeared in July 1998

Ken Foy

Gardaí believe the killer of teenager Deirdre Jacob deliberately chose a remote wooded area to dispose of her body knowing it was used by hunters.

The private land is owned by the Kildare Hunt Club and has been used as a wild animal sanctuary for hunt animals for generations going back to the 1800’s.

It is currently being searched by gardaí investigating the murder of the Kildare teenager in an operation which is expected to last for three weeks.

A senior source has told how the killer is believed to have deliberately chose this location, knowing any evidence would likely be disturbed by wildlife in the area.

The site covers three and a half acres, however gardai are currently concentrating their search on an area of just over one acre.

Gardai search a wooded area of Brewel East, on the Kildare/Wicklow border, for the remains of Deirdre Jacob, who disappeared more than 20 years ago (Niall CarsonPA)

“At the moment what is happening is that the team of specialist gardai are digging in a location which is described as the focal point,” a source explained.

“It is just over an acre in size and once this area has been dealt with the investigation will move onto the rest of the site which is another two and a half acres,” the source added.

Specialist forensic gardai as well as a forensic anthropologist and forensic archaeologist are involved in the detailed operation.

“If it turns out that Deirdre’s remains are at this particular location it shows that the person who disposed of her body did so in a deliberate and planned manner,” a source pointed out.

Gardai search a wooded area of Brewel East, on the Kildare/Wicklow border, for the remains of Deirdre Jacob who disappeared more than 20 years ago (Niall Carson/PA)

“This is because by burying a body in a wild animal preserve they would have known that the chances of foxes and badgers quickly interfering with those remains was inevitable.

“The inevitable conclusion is that there would be every chance these animals who have been allowed breed in that area would interfere with any human remains that were placed there.

“Of course this means that it makes it even more difficult to locate human remains – especially because it is over 23 years since Deirdre was first reported missing,” the source said.

Deirdre Jacob was last seen on Tuesday July 28 1998 (Garda handout/PA)

Gardai would not comment on their level of expectations on whether the dig which started this week would be successful or not.

Sources say that it had been planned for a considerable amount of time after credible reports of suspicious activity were reported around two years ago about behaviour in the locality which is described as “scrubland” on the evening Deirdre vanished.

However the Covid pandemic and other factors led to the dig being delayed and on Monday gardai said that “the recommendation was to commence a search in October as it is the best chance of success based on the fact that it’s thick land.”

Deirdre Jacob’s heartbroken family and also the family of missing Jo Jo Dullard (21) who was last seen in the town of Moone, just over 10km away, almost 26 years ago, are watching developments closely and are also being continually updated by gardai.

The chief suspect in the Deirdre case is notorious convicted rapist Larry Murphy who is now based in the UK.

Murphy was a keen hunter himself and is likely to have knowledge of the wild animal preserve at in the Taggartstown area of Kildare, close to the border with Wicklow.

The site is within 15km from Baltinglass where Murphy, lived at the time.

A file sent by gardai to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in relation to Deirdre’s murder is still being considered.

In August the Irish Independent revealed that new review of the file which was sent to the DPP by gardai in February was being studied by a specialist barrister for a “second opinion.”

Murphy (56) is understood to be based in London and if the DPP decide that he has a case to answer, gardai will secure a European Arrest Warrant for his detention.

Ms Jacob (18) was last seen crossing the road towards her home at Roseberry, Newbridge, Co Kildare, about 3pm on July 28, 1998.

Her disappearance was treated officially by gardaí as a missing persons case until August 2018, when it was formally upgraded to a murder investigation.

The decision to reclassify the case followed the emergence of new information, which led to gardaí opening up fresh lines of inquiry and ultimately led to the information which caused gardai to embark on this week’s operation.

Larry Murphy was convicted in 2001 of kidnapping, repeatedly raping and attempting to murder a young woman in the Wicklow mountains in February 2000.

He was released in 2010 after serving ten years mainly in Arbour Hill prison.

It in this jail that it is suspected that Murphy confessed to murdering Ms Jacob to another inmate while intoxicated on ‘prison hooch.’

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