Friday 21 October 2016

Mum of newborn may have panicked over infant's death

Gardai at the recycling plant
Gardai at the recycling plant

Gardai are exploring the possibility that a newborn baby girl whose body was found at a recycling centre may have died of natural causes and her mum may have panicked.

A post-mortem on the infant, named Alannah by gardai after she was found by staff at the Greenstar recycling plant in Bray, Co Wicklow, last May 4, was inconclusive.

"There were no visible signs of deliberate trauma or injury," said Supt Pat Ward of Bray Garda Station, who is leading the investigation.


One theory gardai are working on is that the Caucasian baby, who was several weeks old, may have died of natural causes such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

However, instead of alerting authorities, the mother or father or both may have felt they contributed to the infant's death in some way, panicked and tried to dispose of her body.

"It's certainly a possibility that the mother panicked," said Supt Ward.

"There are many possibilities that we are looking at, but this is certainly one of them."

He made the comments as gardai repeated their appeal for information on the tragedy that shocked the country and left staff at the recycling plant severely traumatised.

Three months on, gardai are still trying to establish what happened to Alannah and trace her parents. They appealed again yesterday for the mother to come forward.

"Three months have passed since the discovery of baby Alannah," said Supt Ward. "I am concerned for the welfare of baby Alannah's mum.

"She is most likely in an anxious state of mind and in need of medical assistance. I appeal to Mum to immediately seek medical treatment.

"Myself or Sgt Sorcha Fitzpatrick are available at Bray Garda Station to provide assistance to the mum and dad. We will handle any contact discreetly and sensitively."

He assured the parents that "all agencies will take a compassionate view" of the circumstances behind the baby's death.

A similar appeal was made following the discovery of the body and after Alannah was buried in a special ceremony at Redford cemetery in Greystones, Co Wicklow, on May 13.

The tragedy attracted a number of calls from the public and potential leads.

However, since then, the trail has gone cold and no one directly connected to the baby or her parents has ever come forward.


Investigators even waded through rubbish processed at the facility in a bid to trace the origin of the load of recyclable waste that contained Alannah's body.

However, because waste processed at the facility is collected from around the country, it was impossible to pinpoint where her body was left.

Supt Ward commended staff and management at Greenstar for their co-operation with the investigation and the sensitive way they handled the tragedy after a worker who spotted the baby initially believed she was a doll.

The company paid for the headstone on the baby's grave and brought in professional support for its staff who are still coping with the trauma.

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