Schools warn students to be on their guard as serial rapist spotted in area
Two South Dublin schools have sent letters to the homes of their students warning them that serial rapist Michael Murray has been spotted hanging around the area.
The prominent and well-respected primary and secondary girls' schools issued the letters, which urge the students to remain vigilant, this week after concerned locals raised the issue of the serial sex offender being seen not far away.
The letters come just weeks after the Herald photographed the sex beast strolling around the leafy South Dublin location.
Violent Murray was convicted of raping four women and sexually assaulting two others in South Dublin over the course of six days.
A danger to children, he was previously sentenced for indecently exposing himself to a five-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy.
The official letter sent out by one school, obtained by the Herald, says it has come to its attention that "a convicted sex offender is living in the area".
"We are liaising with the gardai who are monitoring the individual on a regular basis as part of the sex offender's management programme," the letter says.
"We are given to understand that he has served a prison sentence but has not re-offended in the seven years since leaving prison."
The letter does not name Murray, but the Herald has photographed him in the area in recent weeks.
Gardai stress that he is not a paedophile but advise "extra care and vigilance on everyone's part", the school notice adds.
The letter says it is likely the man will be encouraged to move on and that the school will keep parents updated when it has more information.
"Discussions with local representatives would suggest that he will be encouraged to move out of the area in the near future," the letter adds.
Murray was jailed in 1996 for raping four women and sexually assaulting two others in South Dublin during a six-day reign of terror in September 1995.
The Central Criminal Court heard that he carried out the attacks between September 18 and 23.
At his trial, two of his victims told the court that they thought they were going to die.
Murray committed his first rapes in Dalkey, Killiney and Monkstown, but he then began to move out of the area.
His next victim was in Rathmines, where he attacked and stabbed a girl.
After days of surveillance, he was seen returning to his mother's house and was arrested.
Murray was eventually sentenced to 18 years, but with standard remission he served only 13 and was released in 2009.
Eighteen months before his rape conviction, he received a four-month sentence for indecently exposing himself to a five-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy after walking into the back garden of a house in Dun Laoghaire.
His previous crimes therefore make him a potential threat to children and women.
People living close to the schools that issued the letters contacted the Herald this week to say they had concerns about him being in the area.
"There are young mothers that use the local parks for jogging and recreation, and there are students of the schools, and their parents, who are now seriously concerned," said one local resident.
The Herald approached Murray (57) four weeks ago in the Dublin 4 area after he was spotted strolling through the leafy suburbs of Donnybrook and Mount Merrion and near UCD.
The sex offender shrugged off the concerns of female students, who were worried about him prowling around the grounds of the college, when their fears were put to him.
Some who know Murray contacted the Herald to express their unease at his presence in the area - but also to alert others who have no idea of his sick past or just how dangerous he is regarded as being.
When told that people had contacted the newspaper to express concerns for their safety in his presence, Murray replied: "So?"
When asked if he could understand why people would consider him a potential threat, he said: "Well, look at what you print in the papers."
Murray looked fit, healthy and strong, and was casually dressed, wearing jeans, trainers, a pale blue polo shirt and a dark quilted jacket with a zip front.
He had a beard and was wearing glasses.
Senior detectives expressed major concerns when Murray was once again free to walk the streets after his release from jail in 2009.
One officer with extensive knowledge of Murray said he was "equally as dangerous" as notorious fellow rapist Larry Murphy.
Like Murphy, Murray refused to take part in any rehabilitation programmes during his jail term.