Toddler Santina Cawley died from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, inquest told

A toddler who died after being found with critical injuries in an apartment in Cork last summer died from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, and multiple injuries due to blunt force trauma, an inquest has been told.

Toddler Santina Cawley died from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, inquest told

A toddler who died after being found with critical injuries in an apartment in Cork last summer died from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, and multiple injuries due to blunt force trauma, an inquest has been told.

The harrowing details emerged as an inquest into the death of Santina Cawley, aged two, with an address at Leeside Apartments, Grattan St, Cork, was opened at Cork City Coroner's Court this morning.

Little Santina was found with critical injuries in an apartment on the Boreenmanna Rd, on the southside of the city, in the early hours of July 5 last.

She was treated initially at the scene by paramedics and gardaí before she was taken by ambulance to Cork University Hospital (CUH) where she died hours a few hours later.

The results of a post mortem investigation led to a massive garda investigation which resulted in detectives following some 430 lines of inquiry, resulting in the taking of 200 statements.

A pregnant woman who was not related to the child subsequently appeared in court last August charged with murder.

City coroner, Philip Comyn, heard evidence of identification and cause of death.

Assistant state pathologist, Dr Margot Bolster, said the child's body was identified to her on July 5 by a garda before she conducted a post mortem examination.

Dr Bolster said in her opinion, the cause of death was traumatic brain injury and an upper cervical spinal cord injury together with polytrauma due to blunt force trauma with fractures of long bones.

Santina's mother Bridget O’Donoghue outside the Cork Coroner's court today. Pic: Cork Courts
Santina's mother Bridget O’Donoghue outside the Cork Coroner's court today. Pic: Cork Courts

The child’s parents, Bridget O’Donoghue and Michael Cawley, who were both in court but sitting in different areas of the court room, were visibly upset following the short proceedings.

Inspector Conor Dillon told the coroner that following the submission to the DPP of a substantial garda file on the case, a person has being charged in relation to the death and he applied for, and was granted an adjournment of the inquest pending the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.

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