A Westmeath native jailed for 13 years for attempting to abduct a teenage girl to sexually assault her, has been described as a dangerous man.
Judge Tony Hunt said Dermot Murphy (43 ), originally from Glasson, Athlone, but recently of Atlantic Coast Apartments, Tramore, Co Waterford is a serious and dangerous recidivist offender, with a serious perversion.
At Mullingar Circuit Court the judge expressed concern that despite receiving treatment for his behaviour while he served almost seven years for rape, aggravated sexual assault, and false imprisonment of a 12-year-old girl in the 1990s, very little seemed to have changed for Murphy.
He had pleaded guilty to the attempted abduction and attempted child trafficking of a 13-year-old girl from the Midlands, whom he had tried to pull off her bike and drag into his white van just over a year ago.
The girl managed to kick and bite her way to safety, but her top came off in the incident and the court heard she struggled half-naked to get away from Murphy on a rural road.
He had stopped her to ask for directions, as he admitted to gardaí he had also done in 2007 when he tried to drag a 20-year-old female pedestrian into the rear of his van in Laois. She too struggled on a rural road, but got away when Murphy was spooked by an oncoming lorry. Murphy thought the Laois woman was younger.
Sentencing Murphy, Judge Hunt said he presents “a very serious source of danger” to young girls aged between 9 and 14.
But he noted that Murphy had given gardaí all the information that led to his conviction for the Laois offence, and had been open and frank with them.
This included telling gardaí he had intended to sexually assault both young women.
The judge described the 13-year-old victim as “a very brave and strong young woman,” who astutely remembered details which helped the Garda investigation.
It was only her bravery, strength, clear presence of mind, and sense of purpose that saved her from the appalling fate that Murphy had in mind for her, he said.
In deciding how to sentence Murphy, he noted he had been friends with a man in Athlone whom he watched grooming and sexually assaulting young women.
He recognised that Murphy had few happy childhood memories, though he came from a very decent family, and that he wants treatment.
He jailed Murphy for 13 years for each of the attempted abductions, with those sentences to run concurrently.
He also disqualified him from driving for life, saying a vehicle seemed to be “a significant tool for him in attempting to satisfy his perverse urges”.
He will also be supervised closely by the Probation Services for 10 years after his release, “because there is clearly a need for further rehabilitation” and as a registered sex offender, will have to inform Gardaí of his whereabouts for the rest of his life.