Larry Murphy is a wily psychopath who is “resistant to therapeutic changes,” according to a forensic psychologist’s report on the prime suspect in the murder of Deirdre Jacob.
The report suggested the convicted sex offender suffered from “psychopathic personality disorder” and could commit other crimes.
The psychologist described Murphy as aggressive, as well as cunning and quick-thinking. He was both “impulsive and controlled” and a person who took precautions. He held views that “increase his propensity for sexual assault,” the report said, adding that he was reluctant to make therapeutic changes.
The report noted that Murphy had refused therapy during his time at Arbor Hill prison and that he was at “high risk” for future offenses.
The forensic psychologist’s investigation was commissioned ahead of Murphy’s release from prison in August 2010 after serving 10 years of a 15-year sentence for kidnapping a woman in broad daylight in Carlow and repeating the rape in the mountains.
Because Murphy refused to accept treatment in prison, psychologists were unable to interview him. The assessment was based on an investigation into his crime and his interactions during his time in prison.
Details from the psychologist’s report have never been disclosed before. The report was included in the file on Ms Jacob’s murder sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) last year, which recommended that Murphy be charged with the crime. However, the DPP concluded last month that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
Murphy’s brutal crime caught the attention of Gardaí, who were investigating the disappearance of Ms Jacob, a student teacher who disappeared without a trace in broad daylight while walking home from Newbridge, Co Kildare on 28 July 1998.
The 18-year-old had gone there to post a letter and was last seen near her home. Her remains have never been found. Her disappearance was upgraded to a suspected murder in 2018, with Murphy identified as the prime suspect.
In a series of exclusive reports over the past two weeks, the Sunday independent has revealed key elements of the Garda case against Murphy. The revelations include:
- A second prisoner who came forward in 2006 and claimed Larry Murphy admitted he “also killed” or “also killed”.
- A new witness who came forward in 2019 said he saw a person in the passenger footwell of an oncoming car near Deirdre Jacobs’ home “either laughing or crying” on the day of her disappearance. The witness drove to Newbridge in a jeep and from his elevated position said he could see the passenger. Although he was questioned by detectives in 1998, he did not reveal that information at the time.
- Enhanced CCTV footage of a slim, short haired man in a crew neck T-shirt standing in the Newbridge post office minutes before Mrs Jacob walked in to deposit a bank check and just an hour before she was last seen. An advanced image analysis of the footage concluded that there was a “moderate” chance this man was Larry Murphy.
- Gardaí traveled overseas to interview Murphy’s former work colleagues, but they were unable to positively identify him from the enhanced images.
- Detectives determined that Murphy was working five jobs in the Newbridge area in July 1998, including a job that required him to drive past Ms. Jacob’s home.
The DPP was unconvinced that the evidence against Murphy would hold up in court.
The “slight” possibility that Murphy was the “person of interest” recorded in the postal logs before Ms. Jacob’s disappearance was deemed insufficient for prosecution; his former workmates provided no definite identification; and detectives were ultimately unable to prove Murphy’s movements on the day Ms. Jacob disappeared.
Prisoners who spent time with Murphy provided compelling testimonies.
The first prisoner – as this newspaper revealed last week – made a formal statement to detectives in 2006.
He claimed Murphy admitted during an altercation that he “also killed” or “killed two” and that he overheard Murphy talking to convicted killers Frank McCann and David Lawler about hiding places in the Dublin mountains. He claimed Murphy boasted that Gardaí would never find his DNA “because he didn’t leave any.”
The second prisoner turned himself in in 2011 after Murphy was released from prison. He claimed Murphy told him he pulled a girl in through his car window in Newbridge, forced her into the passenger seat footwell, and killed her with a hammer when she fought back.
The modus operandi Murphy allegedly described was strikingly similar to his actions when he abducted and raped a woman in Carlow in 2000, first stunning her with a punch in the face and then forcing her into the footwell of a car.
Gardaí valued the testimonies of the two prisoners, who separately and five years apart, claimed that Murphy admitted to the murder.
The DPP was concerned that the detainees’ testimonies were undermined by their heavy criminal record and that one of the detainees had since died.
However, Senior Gardaí believes it is possible that there are other prisoners within the system who may have important evidence leading to Ms. Jacob’s murder.
Detectives were attempting to question a third prisoner, Rory O’Connor, who is currently serving life in Scotland for murder. O’Connor was in Arbor Hill Jail with Larry Murphy, serving a sentence on rape and sexual assault charges. He was released before Murphy. When Murphy was released, he joined O’Connor in Amsterdam.
Gardaí have strong suspicions that Murphy has confided in O’Connor. O’Connor, who was convicted of murder, was questioned by police in the United Kingdom at the request of An Garda Síochána, but he did not become involved.
The Garda report to the DPP says attempts to interview O’Connor are underway as informed sources say he has the potential to become a significant witness in the case.
Alan Bailey, the retired detective who investigated Deirdre Jacob’s disappearance as part of Operation Trace, told the Sunday independent This weekend, the Garda inquiry must now focus on the prisoners who served with Larry Murphy at Arbor Hill and the prison officers who served during the decade he spent behind bars.
Mr Bailey said the fact that there was a second prisoner who also implicated Murphy in the murder suggested there may be others in the prison system harboring information.
“In my opinion, the next steps should be to focus their investigations on prisoners and ex-prisoners who spent time with Larry Murphy. Sit down with these people and talk to them,” he said.
“Especially there [may be] People who are no longer afraid of prison or Larry Murphy. I would recommend visiting and definitely interviewing these people. And I would extend it to prison
officers too.” Mr Bailey and his colleague Noel Mooney interviewed the prisoner who turned himself in in 2011.
In his book Missing, probablyMr Bailey wrote that Murphy allegedly told the prisoner that he stopped his car in Newbridge on the pretext of asking for directions but pulled the woman through the window into the car’s footwell and killed her.
Commenting on the case last week, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said: “We have obviously received instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions and from that we are taking stock and seeing what we need to do next in terms of the investigation. It stays alive, it has resources, and we then move on to see what else we need to do to solve this horrific murder.”
Anyone with information on Deirdre Jacob can contact Kildare Garda Station on 045 521222 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/larry-murphy-a-cunning-and-controlled-psychopath-resistant-to-therapy-41879652.html Larry Murphy: A cunning and controlled psychopath who resists therapy