Witness in Santina Cawley murder trial says she heard arguing from apartment in early hours of the morning 

38-year-old Karen Harrington of Lakelands Crescent, Mahon, Cork, denies the murder of Santina Cawley at Elderwood Park, Boreenamanna Road, on July 5 2019.
Witness in Santina Cawley murder trial says she heard arguing from apartment in early hours of the morning 

Two-year-old Santina Cawley who died at Elderwood Apartments on July 5 2019. 

A witness in the Santina Cawley murder trial testified that she heard the accused woman repeatedly saying in the early hours of the morning in question, “I am telling, I am telling.” 

38-year-old Karen Harrington of Lakelands Crescent, Mahon, Cork, denies the murder of Santina Cawley at Elderwood Park, Boreenamanna Road, on July 5 2019.

Neighbour Aoife Niamh McGaley knew Karen Harrington since they were teenagers and lived for a few years in an apartment neighbouring Ms Harrington’s at Elderwood Park.

Ms McGaley testified today at the trial in the Central Criminal Court in Cork, “Around 3ish I heard arguing. It sounded like it was arguing between a man and a woman. Voices were kind of muffled.

“A bit after that I heard Karen screaming – ‘I am going to tell ‘em’.

“I heard glass smash. She is screaming at some guy, Colm, and some guy, Dylan, to get the guards – she was going to tell them, she was going to tell them everything.” 

The witness said by going to her own balcony she could bang on the glass door of Karen Harrington’s apartment to see if she was OK as what she heard was “completely out of character for her.”

“I was genuinely concerned for Karen’s safety… I could make out someone sobbing. I immediately started bating down the door. I was kicking it. She responded, ‘Is that the guards’,” the witness said, adding that she told Karen Harrington it was her, and the accused opened the door for her.

The witness said the accused was in her pyjamas and looked very distressed and upset and kept apologising, saying she did not mean to be shouting and causing so much trouble.

At one stage the witness said Karen Harrington looked in a bedroom door like she was checking something in the room.

“When she turned to come back out I noticed a mark on her face. I noticed her hair was ripped out – it looked like a chunk of it. Her hair looked like someone had grabbed her hair and pulled it… She had a giant Betty Boop statue that Karen absolutely loved – it was smashed. There was a hurley and GAA helmet.

“I got the impression she was scared of something, I cannot explain it, I got this uneasy feeling for her… I was not happy about the situation at all… I went back to my apartment. I heard her arguing with someone with a very deep voice. It was a male… Unless it was a woman with a very deep voice,” she said.

At 3.42 a.m. that same morning, Karen Harrington rang the witness and asked for a lighter and the witness said she did not have one – to which the accused replied, according to the witness, “Oh no bother, girl.” 

The witness said she was in touch with an Australian friend who asked her why she was up so late in Cork. Ms McGaley told her, “Because I live in The Bronx.” 

One woman was excused from further participation as a juror in the case by Mr Justice Michael McGrath and the trial continues before a jury of four women and seven men.

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