Larry Murphy walks free from Arbour Hill prison, Dublin

Wearing a sweater with a New York Yankees logo, suspected Irish serial killer, Larry Murphy walked through the gates of Arbour Hill prison, in Dublin, a free man on Thursday morning.

After serving ten a half years of a fifteen year sentence one of Ireland's most high profile rapists was released from prison.

During his time in prison Murphy was questioned regarding the disappearance of several  missing woman. Operation Trace was established in 1998 in order to establish if there were any links to to the disappearance of six woman in the Leinster area. One of which included Annie McCarrick, an Irish American originally from Long Island, New York who was living in Dublin. Annie disappeared in March 1996 and has never been found.

It is not known where Murphy originally from Co.Wicklow will now reside. As part of his post-release legal obligations Murphy has one week to inform the authorities of whereabouts.

Murphy was convicted in 2001 for the abduction and rape of a local Carlow business woman. The horrific attack took place February 11th 2000 when Murphy pounced on the young woman as she walked back to her car in a local car park. He broke her nose before tying her up, throwing her into her own car, and driving her to a secluded lane way where he  had earlier parked his car. He then drove his car to another isolated spot where he subjected his victim to a horrific sexual assault.

It was Murphy's next move that lead to his exposure. After the horrendous attack Murphy forced the victim into the boot of his car and drove her to the remote Glen of Imaal in the Western Wicklow Mountains. Murphy raped his victim repeatedly again before attempted to suffocate her with a plastic bag.

Many believe that the innocent woman would have died at the hands of Murphy that night if it were not for the two hunters who stumbled across the attacker. Ken Jones and Trevor Moody had been hunting earlier that evening in the remote location and were on route home when they caught glimpse of Murphy in their headlights. Alarmed Murphy fled the scene and sped off in his car.  It was believed he went home and got into bed beside his sleeping wife.

Murphy was arrested a short time later at his home close to the village of Baltinglass in Co. Wicklow which he shared with his wife Margaret and two children. He had never come to the attention of the Gardai before this incident.

Murphy pleaded guilty to the charges of rape, assault and attempted murder but showed no remorse during the trial that followed. He was sentenced to 15 years but like all prisoners in the Republic of Ireland (except for those handed a life sentence) he was granted the right to one quarter remission.

Despite an prolonged investigation, police found no way of linking Murphy to the kidnappings. However many family members of the missing woman believe that the former carpenter was involved.

Murphy's brother recently told RTE he believed Larry was connected to the disappearances. "There's nobody gone missing (since)  and I find it difficult now to believe that he wasn't involved. I can't out my hand on my heart and say that he didn't do it or that he did do it" he said.

The convicted rapist did not under go a sex offender treatment programme while in jail. As a result he is considered as a high-sex offender. Currently the Irish Prison Service can not compel offenders to undergo treatment.

The Gardai will keep Murphy under close supervision for a period following his release but electronic tagging is not an option. Officials in Carlow and Wicklow have been engaged in a series of meetings in past weeks to discuss implementation of security measures following Murphy’s release.

His release has witnessed a huge level of both public and media interest & scrutiny. Thousands of people have joined several Facebook pages protesting Murphy’s release. Meanwhile in Dublin the media have been on watch at Arbour Hill prison around the clock in anticipation of Murphy being released early.

It is not known where Murphy intends to reside but the probable media circus that will ensue ensures the Carlow man will in the radar of many people for the coming months and years.