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Santina Cawley

Father of Santina Cawley pleads guilty to assaulting ex partner found guilty of her murder

Karen Harrington has vehemently denied any responsibility in relation to the death of the child

THE FATHER OF two-year-old Santina Cawley, who was murdered three years ago at an apartment in Cork, has pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm to his former partner who was found guilty last week of killing his daughter.

Michael Cawley, of Leeside Apartments in Bachelors Quay in Cork city, appeared before Cork District Court today in connection with a charge of assault causing harm to Karen Harrington on January 26, 2021. The offence occurred eighteen months after Santina was found with catastrophic injuries at Elderwood Park in Boreenmanna Road in Cork.

The youngster was rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital where she died on the morning of 5 July, 2019 despite the best efforts of medics to save her.

No facts on the assault on Harrington (38) were outlined today to Judge Joanne Carroll. However, the charge sheet refers to the assault occurring at a bus stop in Merchants Quay in Cork city centre in January of last year.

Defence solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said that his 37 year old client was prepared to plead guilty to the charge of assaulting Karen Harrington.

Sergeant Gearóid Davis applied for an adjournment of a fortnight in the case. He said the adjournment was required in order to canvas the question of whether there is to be a victim impact statement in the case. Harrington is not obliged to give a statement but may choose to do so.

Judge Carroll adjourned the case until 8 June. Cawley was remanded on continuing bail until his next court appearance. The facts of the case will be outlined in the next court hearing.

Meanwhile, Karen Harrington of Lakelands Crescent in Mahon in Cork was jailed for life earlier this month after a jury unanimously convicted her of the murder of Santina Cawley following a trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in the city. The jury took under five hours to reach their verdict.

Harrington had vehemently denied any responsibility in relation to the death of the child. She gave direct evidence during the course of the trial in which she told the jury that she did not murder Santina.

Meanwhile, Michael Cawley, in a victim impact statement delivered via a family liaison officer, said that his beloved daughter was a “beautiful, happy, friendly, caring, fun-loving” girl.

“She enjoyed life — always smiling, she loved life, everyone loved her. She brought joy to my heart. She was my pride and joy. I will always be so proud of her.”

Olivia Kelleher