'Please leave her grave alone' - Mother's plea as vandals target grave of Cork toddler

'Please leave her grave alone' - Mother's plea as vandals target grave of Cork toddler
Bridget O'Donoghue. Picture: Virgin Media

The mother of a toddler who died earlier this summer has spoken of her pain after the grave of her child was targeted by vandals.

Santina Cawley was laid to rest in Kilcully cemetery in Co. Cork on July 12. Her mother Bridget O'Donoghue told the Neil Prendeville show on Red FM in Cork that she was heartbroken by the senseless vandalism at the grave of the two-year-old.

"The wreath with daughter, sister ...the flowers were pulled out of them and the teddy bear. The rosary beads (on the temporary cross). There is no sign of them around. I have no enemies. I don't know who would do this. I don't understand it. I fixed it yesterday. It is right again now. I bought (fresh) flowers and everything. It is a very cruel world."

Bridget, who has four other children, isn't sleeping or eating since the tragedy of her daughter's death in July.

"I am after losing a lot of weight. I am a totally different looking woman. I am having nightmares and nightmares and nightmares over and over.

They involve Santina. She is an angel up in heaven. The other kids go to the grave and they buy her stuff. It is understandable. They miss her terribly.

It is understood that an individual not known to the family has used a photograph of Santina as a profile on a Facebook page. This has deeply upset Bridget and her relatives.

"That is my baby. It is not their baby. Santina cannot rest. It is affecting me and my baby. I want her to rest in peace. Please leave her grave alone. And let justice happen for my baby. With the rest of the (Go Fund Me) funds I plan to buy a gravestone. A love-heart one."

Bridget says she is forcing herself out of bed every morning in order to look after her other children. However, her heart is in pieces after the death of the toddler.

I have Santina's pictures everywhere. I have her picture in a locket. I light a candle every morning. I wake at 5am because that is when Santina had a bottle.

Santina Cawley was found with critical injuries at the Elderwood flat complex on 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.

A post-mortem examination was carried out on Santina at Cork University Hospital by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster. It indicated that she died violently. The results were not released for operational reasons.

A woman is before the courts charged with the murder of the toddler.

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