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Friday 23 June 2017

Mother denies knowledge of assault in baby death probe

Claremorris garda station, Co Mayo. Photo: Phocus
Claremorris garda station, Co Mayo. Photo: Phocus

Ken Foy and Daragh Small

A woman arrested in connection with the death of her baby son has allegedly denied any knowledge of an assault on the young boy.

The woman (20) was held for questioning following the death of the four-month-old on January 1.

The woman was detained at Claremorris Garda Station in Co Mayo overnight but was released without charge yesterday morning. A file has since been prepared for the DPP.

The investigation follows what gardaí are describing as the "sudden and unexplained" death of the four-month-old boy at the beginning of the year.

While the results are not being released for operational reasons, it is believed the baby died after sustaining suspected head injuries consistent with a fractured skull, at his home in Bohola, Co Mayo.

Gardaí believe the child was assaulted.

The boy's mother called emergency services, who upon arrival, found him to be unresponsive.

He was resuscitated by paramedics at his home before being taken by ambulance to Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar.

The infant was later removed to Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin. He was pronounced dead on January 1.

The 21-year-old father of the child was not in the house at the time of the incident.

It's understood that he works abroad and had no knowledge of the incident.

There was widespread shock in the small Co Mayo village of Bohola following the arrest of the woman.

It is understood she is from Co Mayo but is relatively new to the local area.

The village is located on the N5 between Castlebar and Swinford. It has a population of only around 250 people and the incident has caused widespread shock.

The woman was arrested and detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act, 1984 at Claremorris Garda Station.

Local councillor Cyril Burke said everyone in the area was shocked and saddened by the incident.

"People were surprised when they heard the news," he said.

"In a small village like Bohola you don't expect to make the headlines, and especially for all the wrong reasons like this tragedy.

"No one there is aware of what had happened because the family weren't that well known in the area.

"For the mother of the child, I'm sure it's very difficult because we don't know the circumstances of what happened.

"But this is the last thing that the people of Bohola expected to hear on the news headlines when they woke [yesterday] morning. It's a difficult time for the people involved because no one knows what's going on inside any household."

Cllr Michael Kilcoyne, who is chairman of Castlebar Municipal District and whose family are undertakers, said the situation was incredibly difficult for all involved.

"The community and all of us are deeply saddened by the death of a child. Particularly the time of the year makes it even more shocking," Cllr Kilcoyne said. "Coming from a family of undertakers, a situation like this is extremely rare for us in this area.

"The death of a child causes terrible grief and distress to funeral directors as well because these kind of things you don't want to come across.

"It's different when someone reaches old age, but when a child dies, it's absolutely terrible and not natural, I suppose."

Irish Independent

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