Thursday 19 September 2019

Santina Cawley murder investigation: Major developments expected as gardai finalise 'very comprehensive' case file

Bridget O'Donoghue tends to the grave of her two year old daughter, Santina Cawley
Bridget O'Donoghue tends to the grave of her two year old daughter, Santina Cawley
Bridget O'Donoghue at her daughter Santina Cawley's grave at St Catherines Cemetery in Kilcully, Co. Cork
Santina Cawley
Tragic: Santina Cauley (2), who was found beaten to death in a Cork city apartment
Grieving: Family of two-year-old Santina Cawley carry her remains at her funeral. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Ralph Riegel

MAJOR developments are expected in the Santina Cawley (2) murder investigation over the coming weeks.

Cork Gardaí are finalising a case file on the death of the toddler for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) - and will await instructions on what action, if any, will follow.

The case file is described as "very comprehensive" and includes more than 50 statements, forensic evidence, medical data and even CCTV security camera footage.

Supt Mick Comyns confirmed that detectives now have the bulk of their work completed.

The file is currently being prepared for submission to the DPP. It will then be a matter for the DPP to decide on what action, if any, will result.

Santina Cawley
Santina Cawley

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, who is not related to Santina, was questioned at Gurranabraher Garda Station before being released without charge the following day.

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

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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