Tuesday 25 October 2016

Gardaí to dig at city home in probe into 'killing of newborns'

Paul Williams, Cathal McMahon and Robin Schiller

Published 29/04/2016 | 02:30

Gardai executed a search warrant at the house last night and will begin excavating there today. Photo: Arthur Carron
Gardai executed a search warrant at the house last night and will begin excavating there today. Photo: Arthur Carron

A major garda search operation will begin today at a house at the centre of allegations of the killings of two newborn babies.

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A 53-year-old woman has alleged that she was raped by her father and other men at the home in Walkinstown, south-west Dublin, when she was a teenager. She is alleging that she gave birth to two babies when she was aged 12 and 14, but that these were killed by her mother and buried in the garden.

The woman claims that the babies were both suffocated when they were just a few days old. She believes she saw one being buried in a garden which was dug up at the time.

The woman reported her allegations to the gardaí, and officers at Sundrive Road are now investigating. It is understood she also said a number of personal items were buried with the babies.

The claims date to the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Gardaí also wish to speak to the woman's elderly mother as part of their investigation.

The woman's father, who she accused of raping her, has subsequently died.

Gardaí have been investigating the woman's complaints for several months. They have interviewed several family members and friends about the case.

A source told the Irish Independent: "This investigation has been ongoing for some time, as it's a historical case it takes longer than normal to corroborate details.

"The case is being dealt with by local officers from Sundrive Road, backed up by national divisions who specialise in crimes of a sexual nature as well as those of a historical nature."

Detectives have interviewed the alleged victim on several occasions.

Experts from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation have been involved in the case. "Despite the alleged crimes having been committed a number of decades ago, the investigation is very much live," said the source.

"And as with all cases, detectives will have to investigate all the evidence before deciding on what way to progress."

It is understood that the search could get under way as early as today.

Gardaí confirmed that a search warrant has been executed, and the current occupants will be moved out temporarily so the search can take place.

Hi-tech sensing instruments will first be used in a geophysical survey of the garden of the house, where it is claimed the newborn babies may be buried.

A significant amount of heavy machinery will be required in order for the dig to take place.

A forensic anthropologist and a forensic archaeologist will be present while the search takes place, in case human remains are found at the property. The state pathologist is also on standby to attend the scene.

The excavation is expected to take up to three weeks to complete.

Irish Independent

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