McDowell demands Garda report on baby stabbing case

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell today revealed he has demanded a full report from An Garda Síochána into its handling of the investigation into the death of a baby girl found stabbed to death in Dun Laoghaire in 1973.

McDowell may convene a public inquiry into the killing of infant Noleen Murphy and how gardaí conducted themselves, based on the findings of that review.

The child's mother, Cynthia Owen, was finally vindicated last Friday when an inquest jury found she gave birth to the baby when she was aged just 11, at the former home of the Murphy family at White's Villas, Dalkey.

The 45-year-old claims baby Noleen was born after she endured repeated rapes and sexual abuse.

Mr McDowell said the allegations, much of them too horrific to relate, were profoundly disturbing.

"The first thing I intend to do is to get a full report from An Garda Síochána about what they did or what they did not do and I'm minded to bring that matter further," he said.

The Tánaiste said there were a number of ways open for the case to be investigated.

"I am intending to put the spotlight on all of the allegations that have been made," he said.

"It is profoundly disturbing but the truth is that some of the allegations made in it are really profoundly disturbing.

"The real question that I have to ask myself is can they be properly investigated at this stage?

"There's a terrible tragedy there one way or another, but I don't want to engage in a futile inquiry. But if there is something that I believe can come to light as a result of a proper inquiry I'm very happy to do it."

After hearing four days of harrowing evidence an inquest jury at the Dublin County Coroner's Court last Friday returned an open verdict.

They unanimously agreed baby Noleen is Cynthia Owen's. They found she gave birth to the infant aged 11 at White's Villas, in the affluent town of Dalkey, better known for its celebrity residents.

The six men and six women, some of whom were visibly distressed by the emotional hearings, also found the baby was stabbed to death up to 40 times only a few hours old and wrapped in blood-soaked newspapers and a plastic bag before being dumped in an alleyway.

Noleen was later buried at the Holy Angels plot in Glasnevin Cemetery where she now lies with around 100 infants.

The garda investigation was reopened in 1995 after the allegations surfaced, but no charges were brought.

It is understood Ms Owen is now considering a civil case against the Gardaí over the way they handled the case. She is also expected to ask the Director of Public Prosecutions to review the case.

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