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Woman charged with the murder of 2-year-old Santina Cawley in Cork

Lawyers representing Karen Harrington told the court that their client is four-and-a-half months pregnant.

Image: Brian Lawless/PA Images

A PREGNANT WOMAN in her thirties has been charged with the murder of a two-year old girl at an apartment in Elderwood Park, Boreenmanna Road on the southside of Cork city on 5 July.

At a special sitting of Cork District Court, Detective Garda Cormac Crotty gave evidence of the arrest charge and caution of Karen Harrington.

Detective Garda Crotty said that at 7.56am today at a house in Lakeland Crescent in Mahon in Cork city, he arrested Harrington.

The 35-year-old is charged with the murder of Santina Cawley at 26 Elderwood Park in Cork city on 5 July. Harrington replied to the garda, “I don’t understand why I am getting charged. I didn’t murder no one.”

Paula McCarthy, BL, from Eddie Burke solicitors, who was representing Harrington, asked that her client receive the necessary medical assistance in custody as she is four-and-a-half months pregnant.

Judge Mary Dorgan directed that Ms Harrington be given medical assistance whilst in custody. 

Free legal aid was granted in the case after a statement of means was handed in to Judge Dorgan. An application for bail will be made at the High Court at a later date.

Harrington, who was dressed in a grey fleece top and a light-coloured pants, did not speak during the short hearing.

Santina’s parents Bridget O’Donoghue and Michael Cawley were present for the short hearing.

Karen Harrington, with an address at Elderwood Park, Boreenmanna Road, Cork was remanded in custody until her next court appearance on 26 August.

Santina Cawley was found with critical injuries at the Elderwood flat complex in Boreenmanna Road in Cork city on 5 July. She was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital (CUH) where she died a few hours later.

A post mortem examination was carried out on two-year-old Santina at Cork University Hospital by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster. It indicated that the death was murder. The results were not released for operational reasons.

Santina was laid to rest on 12 July. Chief celebrant at the mass Fr Oscar O’Leary told mourners at the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne that Santina Cawley was a happy child who was cherished by her family. 

She is survived by her parents and her siblings Candice, Michael, Patrick and Thomas.

In a statement issued after the mass the family said that they would forever mourn the loss of their precious Santina.

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Olivia Kelleher

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