The mother of a Cork toddler who was murdered earlier this month is heartbroken at the thought of the plans she had for her daughter that will now go unfulfilled.
Two-year-old Santina Cawley was murdered on July 5 in Cork city.
Santina’s mum Bridget O’Donoghue said she visits her daughter’s grave every day and that she plans to bring strawberries, one of Santina’s favourite fruits and one of the last things she ate, on her next visit.
Santina was laid to rest at St Catherine's Cemetery, Kilcully following the Mass of the Angels last week and investigations into her death are ongoing.
Speaking to Neil Prendeville on RedFM, Bridget added that she is trying to keep strong for her other four children, Candice, Michael, Patrick, and Thomas.
“But my heart is broken - my world is destroyed.
“Her brothers and her sister are heartbroken as well - used to put a smile on their faces,” she added.
“I had plans for her like playschool, school, a future, a life - she only turned two in May - but now she’s gone.”
Bridget revealed that she had been planning a trip to the beach for her family before Santina’s murder.
“She never got to do that.
“All I want now is justice for her for her to be able to rest,” she said.
“I want to know why they did that to my baby - they kicked her to death.” Bridget asked what kind of “monster” could harm a baby in such a way and still walk the streets.
Santina was found in a critical condition at the Elderwood complex shortly after 5am on Friday, July 5.
She was rushed to hospital but later died from her injuries.
A murder investigation was launched following a postmortem examination the following day.
Gardaí arrested a woman in her 30s last week and she was later released without charge with a file to be prepared for the DPP.
Bridget revealed she was awoken at 7am by the sound of gardaí knocking on her door the day Santina died.
She travelled to Cork University Hospital where she was taken to a private room and told her daughter had died.
“I held her and could feel the bruises and damage,” said Bridget.
“She was beaten to death.
“Her eyes were open and I pleaded with her to wake up,” she added.
“My heart is broken and it will never heal - I’m still in shock, I can’t eat, can’t sleep.”
Bridget said she knows her daughter endured a lot of pain in her final hours and that she had to get a polo-neck to cover Santina’s bruises while she lay in her coffin.
“I can’t understand what animal or monster could kill a baby.” Bridget thanked the people of Cork for their donations to help with burial costs and the gardaí investigating her daughter’s murder.
She implored anyone with information on Santina’s death to come forward.
Gardaí investigating Santina’s murder issued a fresh appeal for information last week, urging anyone who was in the Elderwood Estate or Boreenanmanna Rd areas between 1am and 5.30am last Friday to contact them.
Investigators are particularly appealing to those with dashcam or mobile phone footage from the area.