Thursday 25 April 2019

Toddler Zoe's mother remanded after being accused of her murder

Emer Cannon with her daughter Zoe Whitford (3) who died after an alleged incident at the family’s Shankill home
Emer Cannon with her daughter Zoe Whitford (3) who died after an alleged incident at the family’s Shankill home

A woman was yesterday charged in court with the murder of her three-year-old daughter in south Dublin.

Emer Cannon (42) was charged at Bray District Court with the murder of her toddler daughter Zoe Whitford after an alleged incident at their home in Aubrey Grove, Shankill, on February 10.

The brief hearing at the Co Wicklow courtroom heard evidence of the arrest, charge and caution of Ms Cannon by Garda Declan Hartley.

Judge David Kennedy remanded her in further custody and the case was adjourned to the same court in Bray next week.


The prosecution is expected to provide a book of evidence in the case at some stage next month, with the matter then being sent forward to the Central Criminal Court for trial.

Zoe was placed on life support at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin, after emergency services were called to the family home at about 4.15pm on February 10.

She died three days later at the south Dublin hospital after her life support was withdrawn in the intensive care unit.

On February 11, Ms Cannon was brought before a special sitting of Bray District Court where she was charged with assault causing harm.

She had been detained under Section Four of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 at Shankill Garda Station. This charge was upgraded to murder yesterday and Ms Cannon made no application for bail at the court hearing.

In May, an adjourned inquest into Zoe's death heard that the toddler died after she suffered a reduced supply of oxygen to her brain.

At the opening of the inquest at Dublin Coroner's Court, Zoe's father William Whitford said in his deposition that he formally identified her body following her death at Our Lady's Children's Hospital.

A post-mortem was conducted jointly by State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy and hospital pathologist Dr Maureen O'Sullivan.

The cause of death was recorded as cerebral hypoxia, which involves a reduced supply of oxygen to the brain.

Det Insp Martin Creighton, of Dun Laoghaire Garda Station, sought an adjournment of the inquest for six months because a criminal investigation was ongoing.


There were heartbreaking scenes at Zoe's funeral at St Anne's Church in Shankill as her small white coffin was carried to the altar to the sound of Eric Clapton's Tears in Heaven.

Before requiem mass, Zoe's father addressed mourners from the altar and made a special mention of her mother, Ms Cannon.

Zoe had helped others live through organ donation, her funeral heard.

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