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Sunday 4 December 2016

Predator DJ Eamon Cooke 'was a weirdo who showed up to crime scenes' - former head of Cold Case Unit

Independent.ie Newdesk

Published 13/06/2016 | 08:52

Schoolboy Philip Cairns
Schoolboy Philip Cairns
Serial paedophile Eamon Cooke: his other victims could hold key to the death of schoolboy Philip Cairns
Former Garda detective Alan Bailey
Missing since 1986: Philip Cairns
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

The former head of Ireland's Cold Cast Unit has claimed convicted paedophile Eamon Cooke was a "weirdo" who would show up at violent crime scenes.

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Alan Bailey, a retired detective, said Cooke was known among Gardai at the time for his bizarre behaviour, which included him monitoring police radios and 999 calls to arrive at crime scenes before authorities.

The former radio DJ was jailed in 2007 for 10 years for sexually assaulting girls in the mid to late 1970s. He is believed to have abused hundreds of boys and girls before he was jailed. He died in a hospice last week.

The investigation into Cooke's links to Philip Cairns, who disappeared in 1986, have resurfaced as police now suspect the former radio DJ of killing the schoolboy due to fresh evidence.

Missing since 1986: Philip Cairns
Missing since 1986: Philip Cairns

"I had dealings with Eamon Cooke, my dealings went back as far as the mid '70s. At that stage, he known to Gardai. We heard about him that nine times out of 10 at a call in the city centre you’d find him already there in a Jaguar... he monitored 999 calls."

"He was a weirdo," Bailey old Newstalk Breakfast.

"He would ingratiate himself [into investigations], especially at scenes with a lot of violence."

Bailey recalled a particular case of a double stabbing in the early ‘80s and remembers Cooke "standing beside one of the victims" when he arrived at the scene.

Former Garda detective Alan Bailey
Former Garda detective Alan Bailey

"He was a funny fish to say the least of it," he aded.

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.

In yesterday's Sunday World, Cooke's ex-wife, who would only be referred to as Sarah, broke her silence on her ex-husband's suspected involvement with his disappearance.

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

She received a call in May identifying one of his victims as the person who dumped Philip’s schoolbag in the lane days after his abduction in 1986, the paper reports.

"I didn’t know anything about Philip Cairns and he [Eamon] has been locked up for the last 10 years. I don’t why anyone, if they had information, wouldn’t have come forward sooner," she said.

“I do know Eamon terrified people. Was he capable of killing someone? The answer to that is yes. He tried to kill me on a number of occasions."

When Bailey was asked why those with information would wait decades to come forward, he said: "30 year old loyalties have broken down…the passage of time is a great thing.

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

"You have to examine on the basis of why  - what were the factors? Was it fear, was it pressure? All those things must be taken into consideration."

There have been suggestions that a paedophile ring was being run at the time and protecting abusers and Bailey said the renewed interest into Cairns' death might spur on other victims to come forward.

"Quite possibly is other victims coming forward. [They have been] trying to bury their pain and hurt for years and year and this might be the catalyst."

Anyone with information or can notify their local garda station or contact a charity helpline "who will point them in the right direction".

As for the possibility of DNA evidence finally bringing closure to the case, Bailey said, "The age of the sample shouldn’t make a difference."

"If there’s DNA to do a comparison, it shouldn’t be a problem," he added.

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