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House of Horrors case: Cynthia Owen responds to retired garda's interview

Former garda Frank Mullen told the Examiner he had been the subject of serious allegations, which he says are completely false.

Cynthia Owen outside Dublin County Coroner's Court in 2007.
Cynthia Owen outside Dublin County Coroner's Court in 2007.
Image: PA WIRE

THE WOMAN AT the centre of the so-called Dalkey House of Horrors case, Cynthia Owen, has responded to a newspaper interview given by a former garda – who today denied her allegation of involvement.

Frank Mullen told the Irish Examiner he had been the subject of serious allegations of sexual abuse.

He told the paper he had lived under a cloud of suspicion in recent years and that if the State agencies, including the gardaí, investigated the claims properly he would be completely vindicated.

House of Horrors 

Now 54, Cynthia Owen was officially named in 2007, following an inquest, as the mother of a baby found stabbed to death in 1973.

The Dublin woman was aged just 11 when she gave birth to the infant, who was posthumously named ‘Noleen’.

Cynthia Owen says she was repeatedly raped by her father, Peter Murphy, from the age of about eight at their home at White’s Villas in Dalkey – and that she was also sold for sex to a group of 12 men, including three gardaí.

She has alleged that her own mother murdered Noleen – stabbing her with a knitting needle – and deposited the baby’s remains in a Dun Laoghaire lane, dragging Owen with her on the journey.

No one has ever been held accountable for the baby’s death. The inquest jury that ruled in 2007 that Cynthia Owen was the baby’s mother could not legally apportion blame, and so returned an open verdict.

Garda interview 

Retired garda Frank Mullen was not identified publicly in allegations about the case until January of this year when his name appeared in a Facebook post, today’s Examiner reports.

The 78-year-old, who still lives in Dalkey, was investigated a number of times by gardaí. The Director of Public Prosecutions recommended no prosecution on eight occasions, after being sent files about the claims.

A senior counsel appointed by the government examined the case and recommended no further action. The HSE also looked into the claims, and wrote to the retired garda telling him nothing had been proven against him.

It was confirmed in December of last year that the government would not proceed with a public inquiry in the case.

“It’s gone on for over 10 years and different chief supers have given me promises that my name would be cleared,” Mullen told the Examiner.

The file has never been finished and my name has not been properly vindicated.

Cynthia Owen alleges Frank Mullen was one of 12 local men who were part of a paedophile ring in the 1970s. He says he can’t understand why his name – or those of the others – were linked with the claims.

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Mullen was on duty at Dun Laoghaire Garda Station on the day the body of the infant was found. Aside from taking statements from witnesses, Mullen told the Examiner he had no further involvement with the investigation.

Cynthia Owen’s response 

In a statement responding to today’s article, released through her solicitor, Cynthia Owen notes that Frank Mullen “identified himself as somebody who has been a suspect in this case and whose name the Gardaí have not cleared”.

“It is not for me to address every point Mr Mullen makes in his interview, but by his own admission he has not been cleared of his involvement in the abuse I suffered and the murder of my daughter as a result of that abuse.

“The HSE found me to be very credible, likewise the psychologist hired by the Gardaí to assess my mental health and also a jury of six men and six women in the Inquest that identified Noleen Murphy as my daughter, who was born to me when I was eleven years old and murdered by my mother to protect the men who were abusing me and who could be her father.

“I stand by every allegation I have made regarding the abuse I suffered as a child.

“My murdered baby girl still lies in a mass grave in Glasnevin, despite my efforts to have her returned to me for a dignified burial, her murder remains unsolved.

“I have been calling for a sworn Public Inquiry and now repeat that call as otherwise the truth will not come out.”

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About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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