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Documentary to detail tragic death of Robert

The tragic death of 11-year-old Robert Holohan is the subject of a new television documentary.

The killing of the young boy by his next door neighbour, Wayne O'Donoghue, was an event which left two families shattered and a community at odds with itself.

Wayne (21 at the time), was acquitted of Robert's murder but sentenced to four years in prison for his manslaughter.

Just five years ago, in January, 2005, the Asian tsunami was world news.

But just a few days later in Midleton, Co Cork, the story of missing local child, Robert Holohan, pushed the tsunami off the front pages.

The search for young Robert lasted eight days and drew volunteers from far and wide, with the media following every development.

Robert's parents, Majella and Mark, were heartbroken. They made heart-wrenching appeals for information about their missing son.

Finally, on January 12, eight days after Robert went missing, came the worst possible news.

Robert's body was discovered far from his home in a remote gully near Whitegate.

Shockingly, next-door neighbour Wayne O'Donoghue, having given himself up to gardai, was arrested and charged with Robert's manslaughter. The local community was riven with anguish and anger.

Initially charged with manslaughter, the Director of Public Prosecutions unexpectedly raised the charge to that of murder.

Wayne O'Donoghue was tried before the Central Criminal Court, sitting for the first time in Cork, before Mr Justice Paul Carney.

The engineering student was acquitted of murder by the jury, but convicted of manslaughter.

He was freed after serving three years of his sentence and apologised to the Holohan family.

A new series of Scannal recalls the tragic story, including the reaction that Majella Holohan's victim impact statement was to generate.

The programme is due to air on Monday, January 18 at 7.30pm on RTE 1.

mlavery@herald.ie


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