Rapist who made hoax bomb threat to Helen McEntee’s home given two years extra in jail

Court heard call to Samaritans by anonymous male saying explosives had been planted at home of Minister of Justice came from Michael Murray’s prison cell

A convicted rapist who made a hoax bomb threat to the Minister for Justice’s house from the Midlands Prison has been told he will spend an additional two years in prison.

Michael Murray (54), formerly of Seafield Road, Killiney, Dublin, was found guilty of one count of knowingly making a false report giving rise to an apprehension for the safety of someone else while he was imprisoned in the Midlands Prison, Portlaoise on March 7, 2021 following a trial earlier this month.

Murray has 40 previous convictions for rape, sexual assault, harassment, abduction of a child, false imprisonment, threats to kill, burglary and theft.

In 2013, Murray was convicted of abducting a mother and her four year old son and repeatedly raping the woman for hours. He received a sentence of 19 years’ imprisonment for this.

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He was then sentenced to 16 further years in prison for a campaign of harassment and death threats directed at his victim and the prosecuting lawyers in that trial – with the judge calling his actions an “unprecedented and deliberate” abuse of process.

In sentencing the accused at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday, Judge Patricia Ryan handed Murray a two-year prison sentence to run consecutively to one he is currently serving.

Judge Ryan said “to arrive at a just and proportional sentence the court will adopt the totality principle”. She noted the fact Murray is already serving a long sentence and has been in custody since 2010, with an earliest possible release date of May 2036.

Defence counsel Garret Baker SC said client had instructed him to ask the court to declare a mistrial.

Mr Baker said the evidence “simply doesn’t” put Murray where the case needs him to be. He said “it would warrant the court intervening even at this stage”.

Judge Ryan said she didn’t have the jurisdiction to declare a mistrial at this stage and proceeded to impose the sentence.

Det Gda Patrick Muldowney told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, at a previous hearing that on March 7, 2021 a call was made to the Samaritans by an anonymous male asking if they could take a message.

The caller then said: “This is the Irish National Liberation Army. Explosives have been planted at the home of the Minister of Justice and her family. The password is Red October. This is to do with a court case happening in Dublin tomorrow.”

Gardaí were dispatched to the home of the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, but found no evidence of any explosives.

The court heard the call was traced back to Murray’s cell within the Midlands Prison. He was the sole occupant of the cell at the time.

Murray was arrested and questioned. He admitted making a call to the Samaritans but denied making the threat.

When interviewed, Murray accepted he had previously been aligned with the INLA and had a “gripe” with Fine Gael and the Minister for Justice.

On August 9, 2021, Murray requested a meeting with gardaí where he said he admitted making the call and that he did so out of frustration.

Giving evidence during the trial, Murray maintained these admissions concerned a later call to the Samaritans and not the bomb threat.

No victim impact statement was handed in to court.

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