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Sunday 22 April 2018

Victims almost always know their attackers

Edel Kennedy

THE violent death of a child in Ireland is rare. It is even rarer that a child loses their life at the hands of someone they don't know.

The most recent child killing which sent shockwaves through the country was that of Robert Holohan (11) in January 2005 in Midleton, Cork.

His neighbour, then-teenager Wayne O'Donoghue, was convicted of his manslaughter.

However, the last high-profile killing of a girl -- by someone other than a family member, such as their parents -- is believed to have been in 1970.

Bernadette Connolly (10) disappeared from her home in Colooney, Co Sligo, in April 1970.

Her badly decomposed body was later found in a bog. She had been strangled and sexually assaulted.

There were also the high-profile disappearances of Mary Boyle (6) in Donegal in 1977 and Philip Cairnes (13) in Dublin in 1986 -- neither body was ever recovered.

Between 2000 and 2005, 20 children were killed in Ireland. Of these, 13 were killed by their parents.

Other violent deaths involving children included the tragic cases of Deirdre Crowley in 1999 and sisters Shania and Leanne Dunne in 2007. Deirdre was killed by her father, as were the Dunne sisters.

Irish Independent

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