Tuesday 17 September 2019

Bail for pregnant woman on toddler murder charge

Karen Harrington. Picture: Daragh McSweeney/Cork Courts
Karen Harrington. Picture: Daragh McSweeney/Cork Courts
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

A pregnant woman charged with the murder of a Cork toddler has been granted bail.

Karen Harrington (35) appeared before Ms Justice Eileen Creedon at Cloverhill District Court yesterday after being charged with the murder of Santina Cawley (2) in a flats complex on Boreenmanna Road on July 5.

She was informed she must comply with the "strict conditions" of her bail or face an immediate return to custody.

Ms Harrington's application for bail was opposed by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Detective Garda Ian Coughlan agreed with defence barrister Aoife O'Leary that a book of evidence hasn't yet been served.

He said that was due to the Garda case proceeding very quickly.

She said Ms Harrington had raised €5,000 through family and friends in support of her application.

A family friend was also said to be "happy" to allow Ms Harrington to reside at her address before she faces trial.

Judge Creedon said the court had to be "mindful of a person's presumed innocence".

After hearing evidence from the DPP and her defence, the judge decided to grant bail on "strict conditions".

Ms Harrington, who is four months pregnant, said she understood she would have to attend court when required.

"I need assurance myself and I need the closure for this," she added.

The conditions ruled by the court include that Ms Harrington be of good behaviour, reside at her friend's house at all times and sign on twice a day at Anglesea Street garda station in Cork.

The 35-year-old must remain indoors between 8pm and 8am and be available if gardaí decide to visit her address between these hours.

She must also carry a charged mobile phone and be available to answer it at all times.

Ms Harrington was told that she must notify the court of any change in address and to have no contact with any witnesses or parties involved in the case, including with members of the deceased child's family.

The conditions also ordered that she surrender her passport and stay away from the address of the incident.

Gardaí and paramedics raced to the Elderwood complex after the alarm was raised at 5am on July 5 when Santina was discovered with critical injuries.

She was treated at the scene by paramedics for her injuries before being rushed to Cork University Hospital.

She was pronounced dead a short time later.

Gardaí launched a murder investigation on July 6 after a post-mortem examination by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster.

Irish Independent

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