Monday 16 September 2019

Woman to appear before court charged in connection with death of Santina Cawley (2)

Santina Cawley
Santina Cawley

Ralph Riegel

A WOMAN will appear before Cork District Court today charged in connection with the death of toddler Santina Cawley (2).

The woman, who is not related to the child, was charged following one of the biggest murder investigations ever conducted in Cork.

The charge was brought following instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

On July 8, gardaí arrested a woman in her 30s for questioning about the circumstances in which the toddler sustained her fatal injuries.

Santina died from multiple injuries including a severe traumatic brain injury.

The arrested woman was questioned at Gurranabraher Garda Station before being released without charge the following day.

Detectives had already confirmed they are not seeking anyone else in respect of their investigation.

The case file was prepared over the past two months before the DPP's instructions were sought.

One source said the medical and forensic material included in the case file is now set to prove "absolutely critical."

Detectives took more than 50 statements from people resident or present at the Elderwood Park flats complex off Boreenmanna Road where little Santina was discovered with critical injuries shortly after 5am on Friday, July 5.

They also examined CCTV security camera footage from properties around the area.

Detectives appealed to anyone who had not yet spoken to Gardaí and who may have information to come forward.

Gardaí also sought any motorist, taxi or truck driver who was in the Boreenmanna Road area on July 4/5 to contact them, particularly if their vehicle is equipped with a dashcam.

Two properties at the complex were examined by forensic experts as well as two vehicles found parked nearby.

Gardaí and paramedics raced to the Elderwood complex after Santina was discovered with critical injuries.

Santina was treated at the scene by paramedics for her injuries before being rushed to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Tragically, she was pronounced dead a short time later.

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

That examination revealed Santina had met a violent death and had sustained multiple injuries.

Detectives have refused to release the details of the post mortem examination for operational reasons.

The toddler's Mass of the Angels at the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne was told she was "God's newest angel."

Mourners were led by her heartbroken parents, Bridget O'Donoghue and Michael Cawley, as well as Santina's four siblings.

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