Larry Murphy rumours branded as reckless
THE speculation surrounding the mistaken belief that convicted rapist Larry Murphy was in north Wexford could have led to an innocent person being killed, a county councillor claimed on Monday.
At Monday's meeting of the county's Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Deputy Michael D'Arcy raised the issue of the ' hysteria' created by the recent reports that Murphy was staying in a house in the Courtown area, following his early release from prison.
'My own belief is that some poor individual could have been shot or killed due to mistaken identity,' said Cllr Padge Reck.
'I took it with a grain of salt,' said Chief Superintendent John Roche, referring to the reports. He pointed out that it was also during 'silly season' for media outlets, with the controversy surrounding Murphy's early release filling space on pages and air time, as well as selling newspapers.
'But it's a fact of life that we have sex offenders living in every county in Ireland and getting on with their lives,' he said.
While acknowledging the ' hysteria' over Murphy, the Chief Supt said they checked immediately upon hearing the rumours about his presence in north Wexford and were assured by their colleagues in Dublin that he was still there and was never in Co Wexford at any stage.
Chief Supt Roche said he believes a 'practical joke' may also have been played at the Blackwater Lodge Hotel (when a 'Larry Murphy' attempted to check in), which heightened the hysteria.
Deputy D'Arcy said the Gardaí should have issued a clear public statement on the matter stating definitively that Murphy was not in Co Wexford. Chief Supt Roche pointed out that his Superintendent in Gorey checked immediately and left concerned locals in no doubt that he was not there.
The Chief Supt also pointed out that if the Gardaí were to start ruling out every county that such an offender was in for the people living there they would end up revealing the location every time by process of elimination.