Man was looking for teenage girl to abduct and abuse

A man who attempted to abduct a teenage girl intended to sexually assault her, a court in the Midlands has heard.

Sentencing began yesterday in the case of Dermot Murphy, aged 42, of Atlantic Coast Apartments, Tramore, Waterford, who admitted trying to abduct a 13-year-old girl last July, intending to sexually assault her.

He pleaded guilty to attempted false imprisonment, attempted child trafficking, and to assault causing harm.

Det Sgt Kieran Hanly said Murphy got out of his van on the pretext of getting directions, then grabbed the girl, who fought back.

She fell to the ground but kicked Murphy and bit his leg. Her top came off during the struggle before she escaped and fled to safety.

DNA evidence from the top, which Murphy threw in a ditch, matched a sample he gave to gardaí. A green hold-all found at his home, containing clothes and rope, matched one the girl saw as Murphy tried to force her into his van.

He said he set out that day with the intention of finding a girl, and the victim was the third female he had seen and attempted to engage in conversation.

Gardaí used extensive CCTV footage to retrace the van’s journey, and when they contacted Murphy to arrange an interview, he handed himself in.

“I don’t know what came over me,” he told gardaí. “I feel sorry for the girl, maybe I need help.”

In a victim impact statement read by Det Sgt Hanly, the girl, who was in court with her family, said she is afraid of being alone and is wary of all men, even when she is with her parents.

She wonders if people are watching her and if Murphy will return, or has done the same to other girls who have not come forward.

Murphy served a six-year and 10-month sentence in 1998 for the rape and false imprisonment of a young girl, and completed a sex-offenders’ course in prison.

John Paul Shortt, SC for Murphy, said his client had been doing well after his release, before his life was disrupted by media publicity.

He had been seeking “some assistance to curb his perverted urges”, but had to leave, Mr Shortt said. He now wants to further engage in treatment and post-release supervision.

Murphy became interested in young girls during his 20s watching a friend groom and sexually assault them.

Mr Shortt said Murphy’s perversions had developed to a highly dangerous level, but he was sorry and wants help.

Judge Tony Hunt said only the girl’s strength of character and physical strength prevented something happening “which hardly bears thinking about”.

Describing Murphy as a serious threat to society, with ongoing unresolved problems, he remanded him in custody until July for psychiatric and other reports.

He warned Murphy that he will impose “a significant custodial sentence”.


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