FREED rapist Larry Murphy has left Ireland and is currently living in Spain. Gardaí informed the Spanish police that Murphy, officially ranked a "high-risk" sex offender, left here last Tuesday to relocate to southern Spain.

The 45-year-old carpenter gave gardaí the exact address of where he is residing, as required by law. Gardaí have provided the Spanish police with photos and background information about the suspected serial killer.

La Guardia Civil is now responsible for monitoring Murphy, who was released from prison last month after serving 10 years of a 15-year sentence for the attempted murder and rape of a young businesswoman in 2000.

"The fact that we have ranked him as a high-risk offender had to be emphasised to the Spanish police," a source told the Sunday Tribune.

"It is now up to them to monitor him. As he's on the sex offenders register, he must register with the police over there and comply with their laws."

It is understood that Murphy has indicated he may not settle in Spain and may travel elsewhere in mainland Europe.

The carpenter from Baltinglass, Wicklow, is a suspect in the disappearance and presumed murders of three other women in Leinster.

His release from Arbour Hill prison last month caused unprecedented public and media interest. As a result, Murphy sought the assistance of the probation service. He had been living under virtual self-imposed house arrest in Dublin city centre.

"Because of the huge amount of interest in him, he couldn't leave where he was staying. He felt like he was still in prison. He indicated from the beginning that he planned to leave Ireland," added the source.

As a European citizen, Murphy is entitled to travel within Europe. It is understood he was considering moving to Britain but decided against it believing his every move would be tracked by media. One reason he chose Spain is because English is widely spoken there. Last month, Spanish police admitted it did not have the resources to monitor all arriving sex offenders. La Guardia Civil said it was concerned about the number. It said reinforcements are needed at coastal resorts during summer to deal with the number of sex abusers it is felt are at high risk of reoffending.