'I didn't murder no one': Woman, 35, charged with murder of Cork toddler Santina Cawley

'I didn't murder no one': Woman, 35, charged with murder of Cork toddler Santina Cawley
Karen Harrington leaves the courthouse. Pic: Provision

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 July 5.

At a special sitting of Cork District Court, Detective Garda Cormac Crotty gave evidence of the arrest, charge and caution of Karen Harrington. Det. Garda Crotty said that at 7.56am today at a house in Lakeland Crescent in Mahon in Cork city he arrested Ms Harrington.

The 35-year-old is charged with the murder of Santina Cawley at 26, Elderwood Park in Cork city on July 5. Ms 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 Ms 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.

Karen Harrington arrives at the courthouse
Karen Harrington arrives at the courthouse

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

Ms Harrington who was dressed in a grey fleecy top and 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 August 26.

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

Santina Cawley
Santina Cawley

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 July 12. 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. They also expressed gratitude to members of the public who raised funds through a GoFundMe page which paid for the funeral.

The page reached its target of €8,000 in just nine hours. It was closed when it quickly climbed to €12,425.

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