Sunday 25 February 2018

Fresh doubts over Cooke's links to Philip

Schoolboy Philip Cairns
Schoolboy Philip Cairns
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

Gardai have failed to stand up links between the paedophile DJ, Eamon Cooke, and the disappearance of Philip Cairns, as the thirtieth anniversary of the schoolboy's last sighting approaches.

The investigation into Cooke, a predatory paedophile, was launched after a key witness made a statement in May to say she saw the DJ attack Philip Cairns in his Radio Dublin studio when she was nine years old.

However, the woman was registered as being in school on the day the 13-year-old boy disappeared in October, 1986. Detectives have also failed to reconcile the witness's account with other evidence that suggested that she first encountered Eamon Cooke some time after Cairns went missing.

The anomalies have further dampened hopes of solving the boy's mysterious disappearance 30 years ago this month.

It emerged in August that there was no forensic evidence to link Cooke to the crime. Garda confirmed DNA samples taken from Philip Cairns's schoolbag, which was found near his home, do not match those of Cooke.

The woman first contacted Gardai in 2011, but she did not make a formal statement until May this year, as Cooke was dying.

Despite some anomalies, gardai have corroborated other aspects of the woman's statement and are continuing to investigate Cooke in connection with Philip Cairns.

A team of detectives are analysing hundreds of Cooke's personal records and documents which his family released to gardai after his death.

The records are believed to include legal documents and correspondence relating to allegations of child abuse, along with old cassettes and video recordings. However expected searches of properties linked to Cooke in Dublin and Sligo have not taken place.

The supposed involvement of Eamon Cooke in the boy's disappearance has generated enormous renewed interest and social media debate about what may have happened to Philip Cairns.

Sunday Independent

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