Saturday 10 December 2016

Predator DJ Cooke's will and other victims could hold key to Philip Cairns' death

Gardai to trace those targeted by DJ in bid to solve 30-year Cairns case

Paul Williams

Published 13/06/2016 | 02:30

Detective Sergeant Tom Doyle of Rathfarnham Garda Station with the schoolbag belonging to Philip Cairns in a photo from October of last year. Photo: Damien Eagers
Detective Sergeant Tom Doyle of Rathfarnham Garda Station with the schoolbag belonging to Philip Cairns in a photo from October of last year. Photo: Damien Eagers

Gardaí investigating the disappearance of Philip Cairns want to trace former victims of serial paedophile Eamon Cooke, who is now suspected of killing the schoolboy.

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They also believe that if former pirate radio DJ Cooke, who died last week, left a will then it could hold vital clues to the fate of the 13-year-old.

One of the enduring mysteries of the disappearance was how Philip's schoolbag was deliberately placed in a laneway close to his home a week after he vanished. Detectives want to trace another former child victim who Cooke instructed to dump the school bag.

Senior officers have appealed to women who knew the boss of Radio Dublin when they were children but have been too afraid to come forward before now.

"We would appeal to these people who would have been children when Philip went missing on October 23, 1986, to come forward," a senior source said.

"Eamon Cooke abused very many children who were so terrified of him that they have never come forward. Now that he is dead and they see the 30-year nightmare that has been endured by the Cairns family, these people may be in a position to come and talk to the gardaí."

Serial paedophile Eamon Cooke: his other victims could hold key to the death of schoolboy Philip Cairns
Serial paedophile Eamon Cooke: his other victims could hold key to the death of schoolboy Philip Cairns

Cooke became a suspect in the decades-old case when a woman recently came forward, and claimed she saw him murder the missing child in 1986.

Officers believe the information they received in the past month from the woman has provided the most compelling and credible lead in the investigation. The woman, who was aged nine at the time, told gardaí she witnessed Cooke killing the schoolboy at his radio studio in Inchicore, west Dublin.

Fresh developments also came to light when one of Cooke's victims contacted Angela Copley, a community worker who supports sex abuse survivors.

"This girl rang me. She rang me periodically. She was a victim of Eamon Cooke and I was trying to help her get on with her life," Ms Copley said.

Schoolboy Philip Cairns
Schoolboy Philip Cairns

"During the conversation, she came out with this. She told me that a girl threw Philip Cairns's schoolbag in the lane and that Eamon Cooke had given it to her to do it."

Officers are due to contact Ms Copley today in the hope of finding the new witness.

Meanwhile, detectives are trying to trace the location of a property in south Dublin that the paedophile used to site a signal repeater for his illegal radio station.

Officers will interview former employees at Radio Dublin and examine land registry documents in a bid to trace the property, which Cooke would have leased more than 30 years ago.

The third strand to the revived investigation will focus on three separate DNA samples found on the schoolbag. They will be cross-referenced with Cooke's DNA, which is stored on a database in Garda HQ.

Irish Independent

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