08 Dec 2021

New TV documentary in works on tragic Kildare murder victim Phyllis Murphy

Memory lives on: Phyllis Murphy died over 40 years ago

New TV documentary in works on tragic Kildare murder victim Phyllis Murphy

The late Phyllis Murphy

A new documentary on the tragic murder of Kildare town woman Phyllis Murphy is being filmed.

Midas Productions is producing the programme as part of a series to be broadcast on TG4 in coming months.

A TV camera crew has recorded interviews with family and friends of Phyllis as well as retired gardai who worked on the case.

The 41st anniversary of the death of Phyllis is approaching later this year.

Popular Kildare town native Phyllis (23) was last seen at a bus stop in Newbridge on December 22, 1979 — after spending a day Christmas shopping in Newbridge.

Her body was found near the Wicklow Gap 28 days later after a massive search involving teams of Gardai, the Army and the Civil Defence.

After a gap of over 20 years, killer John Crerar was finally brought to justice in 2002 after advances in DNA testing.


A poignant roadside memorial close to where Phyllis was found remains a lasting tribute to her.

The memorial, which is regularly adorned by floral tributes, reads:

“In Memory of Phyllis Murphy, Aged 23 Years, Found at this spot on the 18th January, 1980. May she rest in peace.”

Father-of-five and former Army sergeant Crerar was working as a security guard in the former Black and Decker power tools plant in Kildare town at the time of the murder.

Phyllis was known for her bubbly personality and had a wide circle of friends.

During the search continued, several items of her clothing as well as the Christmas presents she had bought were later found at various locations in the Curragh, Brannockstown and Lockstown Upper in Co Wicklow.

But it was not until 28 days later that her body was found.

A Garda search party found Phyllis under spruce trees at Ballinagee on the Hollywood to Glendalough road near the Wicklow Gap on January 18, 1980.

DNA was found on the deceased and later led to the breakthrough in the murder investigation.

Crerar, who had not previous convictions, was eventually finally convicted in 2002 after advances in forensic science and after a co-worker retracted an earlier alibi after realising he was protecting a suspected murderer.

Family and friends keep Phyllis very close in their thoughts and fondly remember her every year on the anniversary of her death as well as on her birthday.

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