A man matching the description of Larry Murphy, ABOVE, tried to check into the Blackwater Lodge in Enniscorthy; staff called the local gardaí

THE latest reported sighting of freed rapist Larry Murphy in Co Wexford has been dismissed as unfounded. Sources say he remains in the care of the probation service and detectives believe he is making firm plans to leave Ireland.

Nine days ago, a man matching Murphy's description tried to check into the Blackwater Lodge in Enniscorthy.

"We were full up that night, so we couldn't give anyone a room. The man was turned away," the manager told the Sunday Tribune. "The person working that night certainly thought it was him. But we don't know if it was or not. I've seen the CCTV footage and it is very hard to tell if it's him or not.

"The gardaí in Enniscorthy were called. They took a look at the CCTV. They didn't tell us whether it was him or not. We didn't have any rooms anyway. But as a manager, I would always put the safety of my customers and staff first."

Gardaí also took note of the make and model of car the man who had been refused a room was driving.

Superintendent Peter Finn in Enniscorthy moved last week to reassure the community, saying that Larry Murphy had not been to Co Wexford.

Murphy, a married father of two, was released from Arbour Hill prison on 12 August after serving 10 years of a 14-year sentence for the rape and attempted murder of a woman in Co Carlow. He is also a suspect in the disappearance of three other women in the Leinster area.

It is understood that Murphy this weekend remains in the care of the probation service. He was forced to seek refuge with them when he was unable to find somewhere to live independently because of public fear and media scrutiny of his every move. He is under virtual house arrest; his meals are delivered to him and sources say he rarely leaves the private residence where he lives alone for fear of being spotted.

As a free man, Murphy is allowed to come and go as he pleases and he is engaging with the probation service on a voluntary basis. He has rejected a second offer of rehabilitation for sex offenders and is engaging with state services "because he has no other options".

A source said this weekend that gardaí have been led to believe by Murphy that he is planning to leave Ireland.

Initially, it is understood that he was considering moving to Britain but he now believes that his every move would be scrutinised by the media there as well. It is understood that he is considering instead moving somewhere in mainland Europe where English is widely spoken.

The source added that Murphy has been "overwhelmed" by the media attention since his release from prison. As a result, he has put off making any firm decisions about his future.

Fr Ciaran Enright, the chaplain at Arbour Hill prison, has been Murphy's closest confidant since his release and visits him regularly.

Enright convinced Murphy to engage with the probation service when he ran into difficulties finding somewhere to live independently.