News Irish News

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Garda hunt for Baby John's killer may 'go abroad'

Supt Flor Murphy speaking at Tuesday's press conference. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin
Supt Flor Murphy speaking at Tuesday's press conference. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

Majella O'Sullivan and Robin Schiller

Gardaí conducting the new investigation into the murder of the Kerry baby have vowed to go overseas in the search for the killer.

Baby John was found stabbed to death on White Strand outside Cahersiveen 34 years ago.

A new investigation into the murder of the baby has begun following a public apology to Joanne Hayes, who was wrongly accused of murder.

The vow from senior gardaí comes as a source close to the Hayes family said they are unlikely to want a fresh inquiry into the handling of the original Garda probe, saying: "They want peace and quiet."

Judge Kevin Lynch, who chaired the Kerry Babies Tribunal
Judge Kevin Lynch, who chaired the Kerry Babies Tribunal

Investigators into the shocking killing of Baby John have emphasised their determination to bring those responsible to justice.

Superintendent Flor Murphy told the Irish Independent that a person involved in the infant's murder may have moved abroad over the last three decades, and that gardaí will "go wherever the information takes us".

Supt Murphy added: "He [John] deserved to live and to have the opportunity to live and that's why we have an obligation to pursue this."

The senior garda said the investigation could lead to an international dimension in the hunt for the killer.

Supt John Courtney, who led the garda investigation
Supt John Courtney, who led the garda investigation

"There are a certain amount of inquiries on the ground but we're going wherever this information takes us," said Supt Murphy.

"This was over 33 years ago and a person could have moved somewhere else in this time or overseas. These people could be anywhere in the globe."

Joanne Hayes
Joanne Hayes

Supt Murphy stressed there are not any persons of interest at this time. Earlier this week, senior detectives said that a "strong" person may have been "impeding" the investigation at the time.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has also stated that Government officials are in contact with Ms Hayes's solicitor over the possibility of compensation being paid out to her.

Ms Hayes was initially accused of being the infant's mother and was charged with murder. This charge was subsequently dropped amid significant public disquiet.

Advances in DNA profiling have recently proved conclusively that she was not related to Baby John.

This week, Ms Hayes received an apology from An Garda Síochána over her ordeal and the manner in which the initial probe was carried out.

However, a source close to the Hayes family last night said that a new inquiry into the Garda handling of the original investigation is "the last thing" they want. Joanne was subjected to very degrading personal questions. Having to revisit the nightmare and dragging it all up again would be the last thing she wants. Any inquiry would take years.

"They want peace and quiet. Another investigation would be the last thing they want," the source stated.

Supt Flor Murphy said that a wide range of inquiries are currently under way, which includes interviewing witnesses and door-to-door inquiries.

Supt Murphy confirmed that gardaí were getting help from the public in Cahersiveen and any suspicions or concerns people had are being investigated fully. He said the focus was on the wider community that was living in the Cahersiveen area in 1984, some of whom may have since moved away.

"His mother carried him full term. Even if she concealed her pregnancy, it's very hard to conceal a newborn baby.

"Was there other people present when she gave birth? Somebody knows what happened," Supt Murphy said.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News