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Gardaí told they must find Deirdre Jacob's body in order to charge Larry Murphy

“Without that, it is very difficult to prove there was an actual murder or that someone has died”

Larry Murphy. Picture: Gerry Mooney

Larry Murphy escorted by a garda

Larry Murphy leaving Arbour Hill Prison after his release

Larry Murphy, The most feared man in Ireland and recently released convicted rapist walks silently through Heuston station, most unaware of his presence. Picture; GERRY MOONEY

A search of a wooded area on the Kildare/Wicklow border for the remains of Deirdre Jacob found nothing ‘of evidential value’, Gardai said

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

Gardaí have been told they must locate the body of Deirdre Jacob if they hope to have prime suspect, convicted rapist Larry Murphy, formally charged with her murder.

Gardaí confirmed yesterday that a file on the investigation into the suspected involvement of beast Murphy in 18-year-old Newbridge woman Deirdre’s disappearance in 1998 had been returned with a direction not to prosecute.

“The investigation team was always up against it without her body having been found,” retired garda cold case detective Alan Bailey yesterday told the Sunday World.

Deirdre Jacob

“That would be one of the biggest problems for the investigation team.

“Without that, it is very difficult to prove there was an actual murder or that someone has died.

“That was always a problem and it will be a problem with bringing a prosecution in relation to the cases of any of the women whose disappearances formed the basis of Operation Trace.

“They have to keep looking for her body. And that’s why they have never given up trying to find any of the missing women.”

In a formal statement yesterday Gardaí said, despite the latest setback, the investigation into Deirdre’s disappearance is ongoing.

A Garda spokesperson said: “The investigation into the murder of Deirdre Jacob remains active.

“As part of this investigation a file was forward to the DPP and recently returned with a direction of no prosecution.

“The family of Ms Jacob have been informed and are being continuously liaised with.

“An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to anyone with information on the murder of Deirdre Jacob to contact the investigation team in Kildare Garda Station on 045 521222 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.”

Mr Bailey said he was ‘disappointed but not surprised’ by the DPP’s decision.

“I’d say I’m more disappointed than anything,” he told the Sunday World.

“The fact her body hasn’t been located is a major issue. The second question was whether the evidence the Gardaí had gathered was sufficient.”

Last October, Gardaí carried out a painstaking search of woodland lasting several weeks in Usk Little, around 15kms away from wherewas last seen in Newbridge on July 28, 1998.

A search of a wooded area on the Kildare/Wicklow border for the remains of Deirdre Jacob found nothing ‘of evidential value’, Gardai said

The new search was sparked after a man claimed he saw an individual dragging something from the boot of a car into the woods 23 years earlier.

It is understood the man had previously came forward to gardaí with the same information years earlier – but he was re-interviewed prior to the search taking place.

The man’s claims formed the basis for the huge three-week Garda search.

Gardaí had also hoped that the search could help with other missing persons investigations – such as the case of Jo Jo Dullard – who vanished nearby three years earlier.

However, at the conclusion of one of the most extensive searches in recent years, nothing of evidentiary value was discovered.

Murphy emerged as prime suspect in the disappearance of Deirdre after his release from Arbour Hill prison in August 2010 after he served 10 years of a 15-year-sentence for the abduction, rape and attempted murder of a woman in the Wicklow mountains.

Immediately after his release from prison, a fellow inmate, himself a violent offender, contacted gardaí claiming to have information in relation to Murphy’s alleged involvement in the disappearance.

He said Murphy and he had been brewing hooch in their cell when Murphy confessed to him that he had murdered a girl.

He claimed Murphy had recounted to him that he had pulled his victim into his car, held her down in the foot-well and struck her with a hammer to subdue her.

He said Murphy did not provide exact details about what happened after he hit the girl but suggested there were “plenty of bodies buried in Glencullen.”

Larry Murphy leaving Arbour Hill Prison after his release

A Renault Fuego that Gardaí suspect Murphy used in the commission of the crime had been scrapped – with Murphy’s cellmate claiming the beast was concerned it might have contained traces of his victim’s blood.

Mr Bailey, who was one of the detectives who interviewed this cellmate, said yesterday in relation to the DPP’s direction that ‘no prosecution’ ensue: “The source of the evidence was obviously questioned.

“I believe the man who gave the evidence was genuine.

“He genuinely believed what he said.”

Deirdre was last seen on the roadside close to her home in Roseberry, Newbridge, on the afternoon of July 28, 1998.

She had gone into town to pick up a bank draft to pay for her accommodation in London, where she was studying to become a primary school teacher.

She vanished, seemingly without a trace, while making her way home afterwards.

Larry Murphy escorted by a garda

In 2018, Deirdre’s disappearance was upgraded to a murder investigation following a review by the Serious Crime Review Team in the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

The same year, gardai travelled to London to interview Murphy who was said to have been uncooperative – refusing to substantively engage with them.

Deirdre’s disappearance is one of a number of suspected murders of women in the area in the 1990s.

Eight women disappeared between 1993 and 1998 in an area roughly corresponding with the borders of Leinster.

Gardaí believe that at least some of the women were abducted and murdered by the same person.

Murphy has long been a suspect for the murder of several of the women, including Deirdre.

Asked whether he believed that the case should have gone to trial, Mr Bailey said yesterday: “I would have been happy if they let it run to trial and let a jury decide.”

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