A victim of the paedophile Eamon Cooke, who is suspected of killing Philip Cairns, believes some parents unknowingly invite abusers into their home via the internet.

“Eamon Cooke and his likes are still about. What worries me and concerns me hugely is that today parents are inviting these people into their homes through technology,” said Sophia (not her real name), speaking on Newstalk’s Lunchtime programme yesterday.

“It has made it much easier, and you also have to understand that there are very few on the scale of sex offenders at the level of Cooke, and that most men with a sexual propensity towards children may never offend, but they operate on the internet.

“Eamon Cooke was a neighbour of ours, so I knew him from as long as I can remember. I first came into contact with him when we went into his garage as children. It was a playground for children really and, as children, we were curious, and we went in.

“We played there for a while, there were lots of telephones and TV screens, we just played and then one day he came in and rather than throwing us out and getting angry he was the opposite, and he encouraged us to come in anytime to play,” she explained.

“I was around seven years of age when he started abusing me and that went on until the age of 10 when, by which time, he’d set up the radio station in the house. There was a mutiny at that time with his members of staff, and that was the end of the abuse for me, but it went on for three years. It was a very gradual process of grooming, an initial building of trust for a child,” Sophia added.

She explained how Cooke lured the children from his garage into his garden and then, eventually, into his house.

She stated how he abused children in pairs using the logic that they were now bound by the secrecy of a shared shame.

“If we told, we would be harmed or put in children’s homes so the last people we all felt able to tell were the people who could protect us most, our parents,” she said.

Referring to the end of the abuse, marked by the mutiny at Cooke’s radio station, Sophia said that she and other victims felt compelled to run away, such was the level of their shame and fear.

“We had decided to run away. That was our only way, we knew something big was happening, we all felt in trouble,” Sophia stated.

She was a central witness in both of Cooke’s court cases, the second of which in 2007, saw him jailed for ten years on 42 counts of abuse.

Sophia had no information on Philip Cairns but said Cooke was capable of anything.

“I don’t know if he killed Philip Cairns but he certainly had it in him,” she told the programme.


Lifestyle

Children’s creativity is inspiring, says Helen O’Callaghan.Inspiring creativity: Kids on call for climate essay

'I came here for one thing, and that's to shine. That's why I'm wearing all this sparkly shit.'Review: Mick Flannery and Valerie June, Right Here Right Now festival, Cork Opera House

While love was in the air earlier this month, An Garda Síochána has warned daters of the potential dangers of looking for love online.Making Cents: Online daters can risk more than just their heart

It’s natural to worry if your kids keep picking up colds and tummy bugs at nursery or school.Can I prevent my children getting sick so often?

More From The Irish Examiner