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Dangerous predator How rapist Larry Murphy became one of Ireland's most notorious criminals

When he initially abducted the woman, who was a complete stranger to Murphy, he punched her in the face breaking her nose.

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Larry Murphy

Larry Murphy

Larry Murphy

Rapist and kidnapper Larry Murphy has been Ireland’s Public Enemy No.1 for last 21 years when people first learned of the horrific sex attack he inflicted on a young woman.

I was in court the day Murphy was sentenced and when the details of his crimes were heard in public for the first time.

He had pleaded guilty to four charges of rape and one each of attempted murder, assault, robbery and false imprisonment on February 11, 2000.

From somewhere in the room a person groaned unable to control their emotion as the shocking account of the victim’s three-hour ordeal emerged.

Murphy had shown ruthless calculation in the way he stalked his victim, getting his haircut so he could watch her and then parking his car next to hers in Carlow town.

When he initially abducted the woman, who was a complete stranger to Murphy, he punched her in the face breaking her nose.

Stunned by the violent onslaught she dropped her keys which Murphy picked up, pushing her into the passenger seat of her own car and then drove to where he had had parked his nearby.

He gagged the woman and tied her up with her bra, took her boots off and put her in the boot of his Fiat Punto.

He then drove to one location where he stripped and raped her before bundling her back into the boot and heading to another spot in the Wicklow hills.

The woman had managed to free her hands and tried to use an aerosol she had found in the boot to spray into his face.

But Murphy was too strong and overpowered her again.

It was then two men out hunting interrupted Murphy as he placed a plastic bag over his victim’s head and tried to strangle her.

He immediately fled but stopped on his way home to buy a bottle of whiskey, before going to bed.

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Gardaí are searching a wooded area of Brewel East, on the Kildare/Wicklow border for the remains of Deirdre Jacob and Jo Jo Dullard who disappeared over 20 years ago. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gardaí are searching a wooded area of Brewel East, on the Kildare/Wicklow border for the remains of Deirdre Jacob and Jo Jo Dullard who disappeared over 20 years ago. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gardaí are searching a wooded area of Brewel East, on the Kildare/Wicklow border for the remains of Deirdre Jacob and Jo Jo Dullard who disappeared over 20 years ago. Niall Carson/PA Wire

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Murphy was quickly tracked down thanks to the two hunters who recognised him and the married father-of-two’s double life was exposed.

While he would make a full statement to gardai he never expressed any remorse.

But it was his calm and organised approach to the horrific crime that marked him out as a dangerous predator.

It is hard to believe that he hadn’t carried out a similar crime in the past.

Gardai in investigating the 1998 disappearance of Deirdre Jacob are this week are digging in a remote wooded area on the Kildare Wicklow border.

The rural location is within 15km of Baltinglass, where Murphy lived.

It is also not far from Moone, Co Kildare where Jo Jo Dullard was last seen in 1995.

It follows information citing “unusual activity” in the remote area on the night Ms Jacob went missing.

During the 10 years he spent in prison investigators had worked hard to tie Murphy to any of the other cases of missing women in the Leinster area.

Murphy is suspected to have confessed to murdering Deirdre Jacob to another inmate while drunk on "prison hooch" in Arbour Hill.

Murphy also became a person of interest after it emerged he had visited the shop owned by Ms Jacob's grandmother.

The 18-year-old was last seen near her home, at Roseberry, Newbridge, Co Kildare, at around 3pm on July 28, 1998.

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Gardai search a wooded area of Brewel East, on the Kildare/Wicklow border for the remains of Deirdre Jacob. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gardai search a wooded area of Brewel East, on the Kildare/Wicklow border for the remains of Deirdre Jacob. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gardai search a wooded area of Brewel East, on the Kildare/Wicklow border for the remains of Deirdre Jacob. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Earlier that day, she had left home at around 1pm to go to Newbridge. She was seen at the AIB bank on Main Street at 2.20pm before crossing the street and going to the post office at 2.30pm.

The last CCTV footage of her was recorded from an Irish Permanent office on Main Street as she walked back in the direction of her home.

Investigators with Operation Trace concluded there was common traits in the cases of Annie McCarrick, Jo Jo Dullard and Ms Jacob.

There is circumstantial evidence linking Murphy to the disappearances of Ms Dullard and Ms McCarrick, according to reports.

In August this year the Director of Public Prosecutions has sent a garda file over the murder of Ms Jacob to a specialist barrister to review.

The review of the extensive file, which was sent to the DPP by gardaí in February of last year, led to speculation Murphy will be charged with her murder.

Murphy, now aged 56, lives in London and if the DPP decides he has a case to answer, gardaí will seek a warrant for his detention.

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

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