Cooke not ruled out as suspect despite no DNA link to Philip

Eamon Cooke. Photo: Collins Agency

Ken Foy

Paedophile Eamon Cooke has not been ruled out as a suspect in the disappearance of Philip Cairns despite his DNA not being found on the teenager's schoolbag.

DNA samples were analysed by Forensic Science Ireland but no match was found to Cooke, who died in a hospice in June while serving a 10-year sentence for sex abuse offences against young girls.

Philip was only 13 when he disappeared as he returned to school after having lunch in his family home in Rathfarnham on October 23, 1986.

The only trace of him was his schoolbag, which was found in a nearby laneway a week later.

Gardai have been investigating whether one or more young girls may have been forced by Cooke to leave the bag there after he had buried Philip's remains elsewhere.

Cooke, a pirate radio DJ who was found guilty of 42 counts of sexual abuse in 2007, was nicknamed the 'Cookie Monster'.

He became linked to the Philip Cairns case when a woman told gardai that she saw Cooke kill the schoolboy at his radio studio in Inchicore.

She said she was at the studio and saw Cooke hit him with an implement.

When she went into the room, she saw Philip bleeding and unconscious. She then passed out.

The woman told this to gardai in Terenure in May. Her detail of events is still being treated as credible.

"Cooke is still being investigated in relation to this case, but there has been no-thing yet to link him with it," a source said.

Gardai are still examining several items that were owned by Cooke, including diaries, documents, letters and tapes.

Detectives interviewed Cooke twice in the weeks before he died, and he admitted knowing the missing schoolboy but did not confess to murdering him.

In an interview with the Herald in June, Philip's mother, Alice, said she did not think her son knew Cooke.


"He never mentioned him, and as far as I know he didn't know him," she said.

"I never saw him before and never heard Philip talk about him.

"Philip was only sort of getting into music, but he wouldn't have been that involved that he would be going to radio stations.

"He'd hardly ever been into the local record shop. He was just starting secondary school and left here to go back to school.

"You're always hoping there will be something, a new lead, but when it happens you have more questions."

Cooke owned several plots of land in remote parts of the Dublin-Wicklow mountains and in rural Ireland.

It was previously revealed that gardai are to examine five properties in counties Dublin and Sligo in a bid to find Philip's remains.

It is understood that digs at these sites have not yet taken place.