'We’re constantly missing her,' says mother as inquest hears how toddler Santina Cawley died

The grieving mother of a toddler who died after being found with critical injuries in an apartment in Cork city last summer plans to visit her grave on Christmas Day.

'We’re constantly missing her,' says mother as inquest hears how toddler Santina Cawley died

The grieving mother of a toddler who died after being found with critical injuries in an apartment in Cork city last summer plans to visit her grave on Christmas Day.

Santina Cawley’s mother, Bridget O’Donoghue, said she will place presents on her daughter’s grave next Wednesday.

She made her comments as an inquest into Santina's death heard harrowing details about the toddler’s cause of death.

“It’s hard for me and my kids, and my mum. We’re constantly missing her,” Ms O’Donoghue said.

“My poor little baby is in heaven. We have to bring her Christmas presents up to the graveyard on Christmas Day. Her brother’s birthday was yesterday and she wasn’t there. We are constantly missing her.”

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

She was treated at the scene by paramedics and rushed by ambulance to Cork University Hospital (CUH) where she died a few hours later in her mother’s arms.

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

A pregnant woman who is not related to the child appeared in court last August, charged with murder. She is awaiting trial.

The inquest into Santina’s death was opened at Cork City Coroner’s Court today.

Assistant state pathologist, Dr Margot Bolster, said the child's body was identified to her by a garda at the city morgue at CUH on July 5 before the post mortem.

Santina Cawley.
Santina Cawley.

She 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.

Garda Inspector Conor Dillon said a person has been charged in relation to the death and he was granted an adjournment of the inquest ‘sine die’ - indefinitely - pending the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.

Mr Comyn told Santina’s parents that their child’s death certificate will be available for collection within days.

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