A ‘significant custodial sentence’ faces a man who attempted to abduct a teenage girl.
Mullingar Circuit Court heard that Dermot Murphy, Atlantic Coast Apartments, Tramore cruised Midlands counties including Offaly to find a young girl to sexually assault.
Sentencing has begun at Mullingar Circuit Court in the case of the 42 year old who admitted attempting to abduct a 13 year old girl in the midlands last July, intending to sexually assault her.
He was travelling rural roads from his current home in Waterford, to his childhood home near Athlone.
He pleaded guilty to attempted false imprisonment, attempted child trafficking and to assault causing harm to the girl he approached on her bicycle asking for directions.
Detective Sergeant Kieran Hanly of Birr Garda Station, who described the victim’s bravery as “outstanding,” said Mr Murphy got out of his van on the pretext of clarifying directions, then grabbed the girl, who fought back.
She fell to the ground but kicked Mr Murphy, and bit his leg and her top came off during the struggle before she fled to safety.
DNA evidence from her top, which Mr Murphy threw in a ditch, matched a sample he gave to Gardai, and a green hold-all containing clothes and rope which was found at his home matched one the girl saw as Mr Murphy held the rear van door open and tried to force her in.
He had set out that day with the intention of finding a girl, and the victim was the third young woman he had seen and attempted to engage.
There was an excellent response from people in the midlands to a Garda request for information, and the people of Offaly were among those praised.
Gardai used extensive CCTV footage to retrace the van’s journey, and when they contacted Mr Murphy to arrange an interview, he handed himself in.
“I don’t know what came over me. I feel sorry for the girl, maybe I need help,” he told Gardai.
In a victim impact statement read by Detective Sergeant Hanly, the girl, who was in court with her family said she is afraid of being alone and is wary of all men, even with her parents.
She wonders if people are watching her and if Mr Murphy will come back, or has done the same thing to other girls who have not come forward.
She is sometimes worried and sad about what could have happened to her, and is always thinking about the incident.
Mr Murphy served a six year and ten 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 said his client had been doing well after his release from prison, before his stable new life in Cork was turned upside down 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.
Mr Murphy was born to a very respectable family, but a deformity to his legs led to surgery and significant scarring, which led to a speech impediment, bullying in school and to Murphy not completing any state exams, Mr Shortt said.
His one relationship broke up because of his alcohol and gambling problems, and he became interested in young girls during his 20s watching a friend groom and sexually assault them.
Mr Shortt said Mr Murphy’s perversions had developed to a highly dangerous level, but he was sorry and wants help, so that he won’t end up in a position where another young life could be ruined.
He is at high risk of reoffending and Judge Tony Hunt said it was only the victim’s strength of character and physical strength which prevented something happening “which hardly bears thinking about.”
Describing Mr Murphy as a serious threat to society, with ongoing and unresolved problems, he remanded him in custody to July for psychiatric and other reports.
He will impose “a significant custodial sentence,” he said.