RAPIST Larry Murphy worked in Tracy Piggott’s house just months before he brutally raped and tried to kill a woman in the Wicklow Mountains.
Chillingly for the daughter of race legend Lester, the vicious sexual predator was one of a number of workmen who helped refurbish her home.
Unaware, Miss Piggott happily made Murphy tea – and even ate homemade sandwiches with him.
Miss Piggott said yesterday that she could not recall if she was ever alone with him or if she spoke to him for any great length.
The RTÉ sports presenter said she never felt she was in danger but was ‘mortified’ after she realised who she had let into her house.
The refurbishment work he undertook on her Co. Kildare home was carried out before Murphy raped and tried to suffocate a 28-year-old Carlow business woman in 2000.
Dubbed the Beast of Baltinglass, the 45-year-old – who was released two weeks ago – is suspected of being linked to the disappearance of three women, including JoJo Dullard, 21, and Deirdre Jacob.
Of her chance association with Murphy, Miss Piggott told The Sun: ‘He was very quiet. I made that man a cup of tea and a sandwich. I used to make sandwiches for the lads.
‘I would have a cup of tea with him. I am mortified.’
However, she made it clear in a newspaper interview that her association with Murphy was a fleeting one over the eight months he worked for her.
She said: ‘I don’t remember any conversation with him. It was general chit chat.
‘I don’t remember ever being on my own with him. He didn’t act out of the ordinary.’ Because of her link to Murphy, Miss Piggott revealed she was interviewed by detectives investigating the 2000 Wicklow rape.
Murphy had been contracted by a local carpentry firm to work at the €1million farm house near Gilltown Stud just outside Kilcullen, in Co. Kildare. It is the main base for her charity Playing For Life.
And until 2008, it was the home to her and her former fiancée Stephen Mahon.
The couple split acrimoniously three months after she gave birth to their daughter Tiah.
Since then relations between the couple have become so bitter that last December he admitted in an interview: ‘I wish I had never met her.’
He was fined and suspended for four months in 2007 after he lost a court case and was ordered to pay €34,000 in damages for neglecting race horse Pike Bridge in 2001.
Miss Piggott’s association with Murphy may have come as a shock to most people – and quite why she decided to give The Sun an interview about it is equally baffling.
But to residents of Kildare and Wicklow – counties where he ran his carpentry business – he was a regular and familiar face.
A businessman based in Murphy’s home town of Baltinglass said last night: ‘It would not be unusual for people in the area to have known Murphy and to have had him in do work in their house.
‘He was good at what he did and it is only with a large amount of chilling hindsight that any of us realise now the galling significance of the fact that man was anywhere near our families.’
Murphy has not been seen in public since August 13, when a day after he was released he came off a train in Dublin after a day out in Cork and was whisked away by gardaí to a secret ‘safe house’.
Murphy, who has never shown remorse for his actions, is being housed in a secret location.
He has been offered access to therapy and support services by the Probation Services.
The Irish Rape Crisis Network can be contacted through this link.