A textbook predator who groomed his victims - and made them too afraid to tell
Published 13/06/2016 | 02:30
Serial paedophile Eamon 'Captain' Cooke was a textbook sexual predator in the same mould as Jimmy Savile: a devious, manipulative creature whose raison d'être was grooming innocent children for his depraved predilections.
While he was convicted of abusing four girls between 1974 and 1989, it is estimated that he victimised hundreds of young girls and boys during his lifetime.
Cooke, nicknamed the 'Cookie Monster' by the children he preyed on, took advantage of his minor celebrity status as the boss of the pirate station Radio Dublin. And just like the parasite that was Savile, he sought out and ensnared vulnerable children.
He lured children into his trap by carefully, and patiently, grooming them over long periods of time.
Cooke then instilled cold fear into his victims so they would never tell - which is borne out by the fact that so many victims have remained silent for so many decades.
In August 2002, Eamon Cooke contacted me at the offices of the 'Sunday World' with a letter containing allegations that he was being falsely accused of child abuse. At the time, he was being investigated by gardaí in Lucan for the abuse of the four women when they were children.
Cooke had gone to great lengths to scupper the inquiry - including making false and vexatious claims against individual detectives. He even convinced a close female associate to make false allegations of a sexual nature against one officer who had uncovered his twisted secrets.
When we eventually met, in October 2002, my first impression was of a delusional and repugnant character, in a cheap dirty suit, covered in cigarette ash, with filthy hands.
Cooke, who was then 66, was on the run from the gardaí for repeatedly breaching a court order to stay away from an 11-year-old girl who had been placed in care by the High Court.
He was suspected of sexually abusing the child, who he lured away from the home to be with him.
"We're just very close friends," he explained, before claiming that the child had asked him to run away with her. "[She] would ask me to run off with her to London and Cork and places like that and we would go off for a few days at a time. It was great fun," he said, as if he was talking about a relationship with a grown woman.
Cooke wanted me to meet the girl to "hear her side of the story" - which I refused.
I also received a letter purporting to be from the same child which, while signed by a child, was clearly written by an adult.
Gardaí and health workers were forced to have the child taken to a foster home in England because they could not keep Cooke away from her.
I arranged to meet Cooke again and tipped off the gardaí - who were waiting to arrest him.