Deirdre murder team probe detectives' claim on Murphy link

Two detectives who secured critical testimony of a prisoner who implicated Larry Murphy in the murder of Deirdre Jacob have been interviewed by gardai.

Alan Bailey and Noel Mooney, retired sergeants, provided witness statements about their interaction with the prisoner to the garda team investigating the disappearance and murder of Deirdre Jacob.

The prisoner claimed that Larry Murphy confessed to the murder of the 18-year-old Kildare woman while he was serving a jail sentence for rape. The statements were taken from the retired detectives in recent months.

A file on the murder is being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions and is thought to be at an advanced stage, sources said.

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The now retired detectives believed the prisoner’s account of Murphy’s confession was highly credible and they conducted a number of searches as a result of his information. However, the mystery of Deirdre Jacob’s disappearance was never solved.

Gardai are understood to have received “significant” new information from other sources since they announced last year that they are treating the 18-year-old student’s disappearance as murder.

Det Sgts Alan Bailey and Noel Mooney were investigating a number of missing women in Ireland when the prisoner first came forward seven years ago.

He claimed Larry Murphy, who was serving time for abducting and brutally raping another woman, got drunk one night in prison on homemade alcohol and allegedly boasted of abducting a woman outside Newbridge. After Murphy completed his sentence, the prisoner made several detailed statements about his alleged confession to the detective.

Bailey recounted the prisoner’s claims in a book he wrote after his retirement, including an allegation that Murphy said he had “pulled in alongside a young girl on the road just outside of Newbridge, waved the map in her direction, and asked for instructions on getting to a particular place.

“When the youngster leaned in through the open passenger window to try to see where he was pointing to, he is alleged to have grabbed her by her hair, and roughly dragged her down into the car, forcing her into the front passenger seat.”

Alan Bailey confirmed this weekend that he and retired sergeant, Noel Mooney, were interviewed by the current investigation team.

“We felt that it was a significant development,” he said this weekend. “I certainly did not believe that the prisoner was making up a story.”

Deirdre Jacob vanished in July 1998 from the roadside close to her home outside Newbridge, Co Kildare.

She had been on errands in the town and was seen by neighbours on her way home that afternoon before she seemed to disappear without trace just yards from her home.

The prisoner’s allegations about Murphy led to a number of unsuccessful searches for Deirdre Jacob in and around the Wicklow area.

Murphy, a carpenter and tradesman, travelled throughout the Leinster region for his work. He is currently believed to be living in London.

He previously lived in Amsterdam after he was released from prison, having served 10 years of a 15-year sentence for rape.

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