Monday 19 November 2018

McDowell will reject request to exhume stabbed baby

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

A CORONER'S request for the exhumation of a baby found stabbed to death 33 years ago is expected to be turned down by Justice Minister Michael McDowell.

The body was buried in the Little Angels plot at Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin in 1973.

Last Tuesday, Dublin county coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty told an inquest that he hoped the exhumation would help "the truth to come out in the end".

His request was sent to the minister last Friday and over the past two days senior department officials have been consulting with gardai and professional experts about the task.

But it is expected that the request will be refused on ethical grounds as hundreds of bodies of babies have been buried in that section of the graveyard.

The exhumation was described last night by one expert as "a logistical nightmare". He said it would be impossible to get the permission of the parents of all of the other babies who had been buried there.

"There are ethical issues involved and the fresh pain that would be caused to grieving parents has to be taken into account. "It is also far from certain that a search of the plot would provide evidence that would seriously advance the investigation," he added.

The exhumation request was welcomed by Cynthia Owen, who claimed to gardai in 1994 that she was the mother of the newborn baby girl found with 33 stab wounds in a plastic bag in Lee's Lane in Dun Laoghaire on April 4, 1973.


She claimed she had been repeatedly sexually abused as a child in Dalkey and had given birth in secret at home. Ms Owen, who is now in her 40s, claimed she gave birth again three years later as a result of a rape. Her baby boy had been stillborn and buried in the back garden of the family house.

Gardai dug up the garden but found nothing. However, the claims led to the re-opening of the inquest last September.

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