The father of Santina Cawley who was wailing and crying at the scene when gardaí and emergency services arrived was heard shouting into the face of his then partner, “You killed my baby girl, you monster.”
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.
Detective Garda Eoghain O’Callaghan gave evidence in the trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork.
Brendan Grehan, defence senior counsel, said in cross-examination of the witness, “You described her (Karen Harrington) as very distressed (after 6 a.m. that morning at the scene).”
The detective replied, “Yes.”
“It was obvious to you she was in a distressed state, giving you some details. She told you she had been with the child in the apartment and she asked you was she (Santina) OK?” Mr Grehan said.
The defence senior counsel added, “Michael Cawley intervened. He came over and shouted in her face… It was a fairly fraught situation. We heard from Sergeant Bryan Teahan – he directed you to separate the two people.
“Michael Cawley shouted in her face, ‘You killed my baby girl, you monster.’”
Det. Garda O’Callaghan agreed that this was the account that he had written in his notebook.
When Michael Cawley shouted this in her face, Karen Harrington replied, ‘I did yeah - I did yeah’ sarcastically,” the detective said.
Defence Counsel Brendan Grehan SC clarified it with Det. Garda O’Callaghan that his client said ‘I did yeah’ in a sarcastic tone suggesting that the opposite was the case. The detective agreed.
Mr Grehan noted that throughout this encounter when the detective was talking to the accused she was grabbing on to the detective’s arm and it was obvious that she was distressed.
Crime Scene Manager Detective Garda Stephen Dennehy testified that Santina had sustained 49 separate external injuries and a further four internal injuries when she was found by her father, Michael Cawley at the apartment of his then partner, Karen Harrington.
The detective said clumps of hair were found inside the door of the apartment as well as on a three-seater sofa in the living area of the duplex. He said that a blood-stained duvet was recovered as was the bottom half of child’s clothing with a nappy inside. A gold stud earring was in Santina’s right ear but the left stud was found on the sitting room floor, Detective Garda Dennehy said.
The trial continues before Mr Justice Michael McGrath and a jury of seven men and four women.
One juror was excused on Tuesday.