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Woman accused of murdering Santina (2) awaits bail hearing


Tragic Santina Cawley

Tragic Santina Cawley

Tragic Santina Cawley

A pregnant woman charged with the murder of Cork toddler Santina Cawley is now awaiting a High Court bail hearing.

Karen Harrington (35) appeared before Judge Mary Dorgan at Cork District Court charged with the murder of the two-year-old, who died after being found with critical injuries in a Boreenmanna Road flats complex on July 5 last.

She was charged with the murder last week and appeared in court on a remand hearing.

Judge Dorgan was told by defence counsel Paula McCarthy BL her client was now awaiting the outcome of a bail hearing.

"A bail application is pending before the High Court," she said.

Ms McCarthy said that, in the circumstances, the matter should be adjourned pending the High Court ruling.

Judge Dorgan remanded Ms Harrington in ongoing custody to appear again before Cork District Court on September 6.

Ms Harrington, who appeared in court wearing a white jumper and tan slacks, did not speak during the brief hearing.

Present in court were Santina's parents, Bridget O'Donoghue and Michael Cawley.

The court previously heard details of the arrest, caution and charge from Detective Garda Cormac Crotty.

Ms Harrington was arrested by Cork gardai at 7.56am last Wednesday.

He said when the charge was formally put to the defendant, she replied: "I do not understand why I am being charged - I did not murder no one."

Harrington, of Elderwood Park, Boreenamanna Road, Cork, is not related to Santina.


Ms McCarthy applied for free legal aid and submitted a statement of Harrington's means.

She also asked the court to direct that her client receive all required medical attention while she is in custody as she is four and a half months pregnant.

Judge Dorgan granted free legal aid in the name of Eddie Burke Solicitors and directed that the defendant receive all necessary medical attention while in custody.

The garda case file was prepared over the past two months before the DPP's instructions were sought.

Gardai and paramedics raced to the Elderwood complex after the alarm was raised at 5am on July 5 when Santina was discovered with critical injuries.

Santina was treated at the scene by paramedics for her injuries before being rushed to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Tragically, she was pronounced dead a short time later.

Gardai launched a murder investigation on July 6 following a post mortem examination by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster.

That examination revealed Santina had met a violent death and had sustained multiple injuries.

Detectives have refused to release the details of the post mortem examination for operational reasons.

The toddler's Mass of the Angels at the Cathedral of St Mary and St Anne was told she was "God's newest angel".

Mourners at the ceremony were led by her heartbroken parents, Bridget O'Donoghue and Michael Cawley, as well as Santina's four siblings.