‘Vanishing Triangle’ where 6 women disappeared in 5 yrs – and cave could be key

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    Larry Murphy is an Irishman said to be working on construction sites in London – but he is also a sex beast who keeps as low a profile as possible.

    He became one of the most notorious men in Ireland after forcing a young woman into the boot of his car before taking her to the Wicklow Mountains where she was brutally beaten and raped on February 11, 2000.

    Murphy – later dubbed the ‘Beast of Baltinglass’ – then placed a plastic bag over her head before raping her again.

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    Her life was somehow saved after two poachers spooked Murphy who drove away in a panic before he could murder her. And in his police interview, he reportedly said: “Well, she’s alive isn’t she? She was lucky.”

    The married father-of-two, who worked as a freelance carpenter, pled guilty to false imprisonment, sexual assault and attempted murder, before serving 10 years of his 15-year sentence.

    He now lives under a new identity – but a true crime documentary on Sky called Six Silent Killings: Ireland’s Vanishing Triangle has shifted the focus once again on Murphy.

    What is the ‘Vanishing Triangle’?

    Between 1993 and 1998, six women, aged between 17 and 27, disappeared from a small area near Dublin that became known as the ‘Vanishing Triangle’.

    The first high-profile case involved New Yorker Annie McCarrick, then 27, who had only been living in the country six weeks when she went for a walk by the Wicklow Mountains on March 26, 1993, before she was never seen again.

    Five more women within an 80-mile radius of one another then disappeared without a trace over the next five years – but a fresh twist involving a secret cave could unlock answers three decades later.

    And in the Sky documentary, police in Ireland, known as Gardai, revealed that Larry Murphy was one of a “number of persons of interest” in three of the cases, which were all eventually upgraded from missing people to murder investigations.

    This includes the mystery surrounding Annie McCarrick as well as Josephine ‘JoJo’ Dullard – a 21-year-old woman who went missing two years later in November 1995 after she tried to hitchhike from Dublin after missing her bus home to County Kilkenny.

    In the programme, JoJo’s sister Kathleen said: “Whoever has done this… they have hidden her so well. She could be anywhere.”

    And asked whether her murder could be the work of a serial killer, she answered: “I hate saying serial killer because until the day we find JoJo I can’t, I can’t.”

    As well as being “one of a number of persons of interest” in the murders of Annie and JoJo, police said Murphy was the sole suspect in the murder of Deirdre Jacob.

    She was 18 and was back from her teacher training course in London when she was last seen outside her mum and dad’s home in Newbridge, County Kildare, on the afternoon of July 28, 1998. Her case rocked Ireland and fears escalated that there was a serial killer on the loose.

    FBI Special Agent Kenneth Strange said in the documentary: “It seemed like every other year, every two years, there would be another woman in that area that would vanish without a trace. Someone is out there planning, obsessing and ready to execute when everything is perfect.

    “Maybe that person is surveilling some of his victims and just waiting for that opportune moment to abduct that person. I don't think the Gardai were prepared for something like this. I don’t think they were ready for it. This was totally new. But not for us. We have a morbid history of serial killers going way back.”

    The FBI then provided Gardai with a profile of who they thought the serial killer could be. They concluded that it was a married man in his 30s, with children who had no previous dealings with the law.

    Who is Larry Murphy?

    Two years after Deirdre vanished, Murphy was caught brutally raping a Carlow woman in the Wicklow mountains, which led to his imprisonment.

    By this time Operation Trace had been set up to look for links in the cases involving the six missing women.

    Speaking about Murphy being a person of interest, Detective Sergeant Alan Bailey said: “Larry Murphy ticked so many of the boxes from the profile provided to us by the FBI. White man in his mid 30s, married with children and lived locally.

    “So straight away you are saying to yourself could this be our man? Could he be responsible for one or more disappearances?”

    Murphy lived in Baltinglass, close to where he raped his victim, before her life was saved from certain death. He was a freelance carpenter who also worked as a handyman and builder who had been known to dig queries and septic tanks.

    He was also a keen hunter, something he was taught from a young age living in the remote Baltinglass, near to where the women eventually started going missing from.

    After he was sentenced to jail for rape and abduction, his horrified brother, Tom, went on national TV and said: “He never spoke about what he did himself, and if you ask him anything about it, the answer I got was ‘I flipped’.

    “And I go back again, and I would ask the same questions, and I would get the same answers, ‘I flipped, I flipped, I flipped’. And I don’t accept that answer. That answer to me doesn’t explain what Larry did.”

    Murphy was also linked to the murder of a seventh woman, Antionette Smith, whose body was found in 1988 in the Glendoo Mountains in Enniskerry.

    She had been raped and had a plastic bag covering her head but there was no DNA evidence. Her daughter, Rachel, said on the documentary about Murphy: “In my own head, this is the person responsible for me growing up without a man, he took my mam from me.”

    However, police confirmed they were not investigating Murphy in connection with Antionette's murder, and only those of Annie McCarrick, JoJo Dullard and Deirdre Jacob.

    Prison Life

    Murphy refused therapeutic treatment for sex offending while inside Dublin’s Arbour Hill prison. However, a damning psychiatric report described him as “someone who could go on to commit further crimes”.

    But he walked free in August 2010 after serving 10 years and social media in Ireland ran profiles about sightings of Murphy who was staying at a refugee house after being discarded by his family.

    However, instead of going under the radar, one of his fellow inmates spoke to the police in 2010 about how Murphy was supposedly taking ecstasy and booze in the cell one night when he started talking in detail about the murder of Deirdre Jacob.

    He reportedly said the words “I did that” and he spoke about driving around Newbridge before stopping to ask her for directions.

    By this point Murphy had resettled in England but cops travelled over to interview him. An agitated Murphy asked the police if they had found a body and when they said they had not, he supposedly replied: “Well, f*** off then.”

    It was also revealed that Murphy was working in Newbridge when Deirdre was last seen alive. However, the Director of Public Prosecutions concluded that there was insufficient evidence to get it beyond the threshold of beyond a reasonable doubt.

    However, could this be about to change?

    Secret Cave

    Forensic scientist David Kenny also featured in the Sky programme and he has been investigating the murders.

    And he believes he has identified an underground chamber that he claims could have been the centre of Murphy’s hunting ground in the Wicklow Mountains.

    Two cadaver dogs searched the area marked by Kenny in the documentary before sniffing out one particular section. The dog handler told the camera: "I have no doubt there are bodies here.”

    Retired Garda Martin Walker said: “I believe they are going to send a report on to the Garda Commissioner at some stage in the future with these findings. A warrant would need to be obtained to properly search the area.”

    A police statement to conclude the documentary read: “Gardai are not investigating Larry Murphy in connection with Antionette Smith. He remains one of a number of persons of interest in the murders of Annie McCarrick and JoJo Dullard and the sole suspect in the murder of Deirdre Jacob. Programme makers were unable to reach Larry Murphy for comment.”

    The other three women who disappeared in the ‘Vanishing Triangle’ were Fiona Pender, Fiona Sinnot and Ciara Breen – but investigators believe they were murdered by people they knew.

    Larry Murphy now

    According to reports, Larry has now changed his name and is still living in London.

    One cop said of the monster: “Murphy has his new identity and doesn’t want anyone knowing about his past. He doesn’t seem to care about media attention in Ireland but does not want to be exposed in the UK.

    “He has no intention of ­returning to Ireland and continues to engage with the authorities in the UK. He is also living in an area which is ethnically diverse and isn’t normally associated with ­people from Ireland.

    “He deliberately chose his new home because he believes people won’t know him.”

    • Murder
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