Critical point Decision to prosecute rapist Larry Murphy over Deirdre Jacob disappearance may come in weeks
Murphy (56) is understood to be based in London and if the DPP decides he has a case to answer, gardaí will secure a European Arrest Warrant for his detention
August 09 2021 07:00 AM
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has sent a garda file in relation to the murder of teenage trainee school teacher Deirdre Jacob to a specialist barrister for a “second opinion”, the Herald can reveal.
The new review of the extensive file, which was sent to the DPP by gardaí in February of last year, has led to an expectation that a decision to press charges or not against notorious rapist Larry Murphy may be made in the coming weeks.
Senior sources say the long-running investigation is at an “absolutely critical point now” as the specialist legal opinion is eagerly awaited.
“The office of the DPP has sent the file to a specialist criminal lawyer so that it can have a second opinion before coming to a final decision on whether to charge Murphy with murder or abduction in this case or deem that there is not enough evidence to proceed with a prosecution,” a source said.
- Operation Trace has not forgotten about rapist Larry Murphy
- Former Garda cold case chief’s plea for info about missing Jo Jo Dullard
It is understood gardaí are “eagerly awaiting” the opinion of the specialist, as the file has now been with the DPP for 18 months.
Murphy (56) is understood to be based in London and if the DPP decides he has a case to answer, gardaí will secure a European Arrest 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.
The decision to reclassify the case followed the emergence of new information, which led to gardaí opening up fresh lines of inquiry.
July 28 was the 23rd anniversary of her disappearance.
One of Ireland’s most feared criminals and the chief suspect in the case, Murphy, from Baltinglass, Co Wicklow, 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 10 years, mainly in Arbour Hill Prison.
It is in this jail that it is suspected Murphy confessed to murdering Ms Jacob to another inmate while intoxicated on “prison hooch”.
Ms Jacob (18) was last seen near her home, at Roseberry, Newbridge, Co Kildare, at around 3pm on July 28, 1998.
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.
Murphy became a person of interest after it emerged he had visited the shop owned by Ms Jacob’s grandmother.
CCTV footage from the day of Ms Jacob’s disappearance has been digitalised, resulting in new witnesses being identified from the clearer video.
During an interview with gardaí while in prison, Murphy denied any involvement in her disappearance.
Gardaí travelled to Britain in 2018 and, in the company of the London Metropolitan police, attempted to interview Murphy, but he refused to answer questions.
Investigators have followed 3,500 lines of inquiry, gathered more than 2,000 statements and conducted numerous searches for the missing student since 1998.
Murphy has been ruled out of involvement in the cases of Ciara Breen, Fiona Pender and Fiona Sinnott.
However, An Garda Síochána’s Operation Trace concluded there was commonality 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.
He remains a suspect, sources confirm.
Last October, the case of Ms Dullard was upgraded to murder. The 21-year-old went missing from Moone in Co Kildare in 1995. She was working in Callan, Co Kilkenny, and had travelled to Dublin on November 9 that year.
She missed the last direct bus home that night so she got a bus to Naas and then hitched two lifts to get to Moone.
While she was in a phonebox in Moone telling a friend where she was, a car stopped for her. That was the last anyone heard from her.
The status of the case changed following an examination by the Serious Crime Review Team.