A serial rapist has begun the first stage of High Court proceedings aimed at preventing newspapers from publishing photographs of him and details of his address.

49-year-old Michael Murray, who raped four women over a six day period in 1995, says he has been harassed by the press since his release from prison last year.

He claims relentless media attention is interfering with his ability to take part in a rehabilitation programme and his chance to resume a normal life.

The High Court was told he was forced to leave a number of homes after media coverage identified his whereabouts.

He now moves between bed and breakfast accommodation and is regularly refused hotel accommodation in Dublin, he said.

Murray is seeking an interlocutory injunction preventing publication of photographs and his address pending a full hearing of his case.

The newspapers argue that the public has a right to know about the location of a dangerous person.

They described Michael Murray as a very dangerous person who had a number of previous convictions before the multiple rapes in 1995.

They pointed out that he had a conviction for rape in England in 1989 and conviction for indecent exposure.

The 1995 rapes were accompanied by horrific violence in at least one case, according to Eoin McCollough SC for the newspapers who said Murray was clearly a repeat offender.

Mr McCollough said the court must balance Murray's right to privacy with the public interest and if there was even the slightest chance that he might re-offend between now and a full hearing of his case the court should not grant an injunction.

In court this morning lawyers for Murray outlined a series of articles from newspapers including the Irish Daily Star, the Evening Herald, News of the World and The Sun.

The coverage began on the day he was released from prison and had continued, the Court was told.

Paul O'Higgins said his client was convicted of an exceptionally serious series of rapes and sexual offences.

Mr O'Higgins said it goes without saying that Murray poses an abnormal risk to the community.

However, he said there were procedures in place to reduce the risk to the community and, not withstanding his truly appalling record, he was entitled to expect some level of privacy.

If it was accepted that even a multiple rapist had to live somewhere, then it should also be accepted that he should be allowed to live relatively peacefully, Mr O'Higgins said.

In a sworn statement Murray said uniformed gardaí called to his home as many as five times in one day and on one occasion were accompanied by a photographer.

Murray accused the gardaí of calling to his door as a 'ruse' to allow the photograph be taken.

He also said he was repeatedly stopped on the street by uniformed gardaí and questioned in a confrontational manner on some occasions.

The Court heard that during his 13 year prison sentence he attended counselling to deal with his offences and addiction problems.

After his release he joined a New Directions programme for the rehabilitation of sex offenders.

The programmes had numerous conditions including a curfew as well as regular visits from probation officers and gardaí.

However, counsel for the newspapers said the programme was a voluntary one and Murray was under relatively light supervision.

They also argued that there was little evidence of counselling or rehabilitation except a statement that Murray had attended counselling for two years at the beginning of his sentence and for another two years towards the end.

At the full hearing of his case Murray will also seek damages for mental distress and anguish due to interference with his right to privacy and his rights to maintain a permanent dwelling under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case continues tomorrow.