“I did not murder Santina Cawley.”
Karen Harrington got into the witness box at the Central Criminal Court in Cork for the first time in the eleven-day trial and testified today.
Brendan Grehan defence senior counsel’s first question to 38-year-old Karen Harrington of Lakelands Crescent, Mahon, Cork, was that she stands accused of murdering of Santina Cawley at her apartment at Elderwood Park, Boreenamanna Road, on July 5, 2019.
“What do you have to say to that?”
“I did not murder Santina Cawley,” Karen Harrington said.
“That has been your position throughout this?” Mr Grehan asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
That was the extent of her direct evidence.
Seán Gillane prosecution senior counsel then asked her, “Who did?”
Ms Harrington replied, “Who did? I can’t answer that.”
“Or you won’t say?” Mr Gillane said.
She replied, “I am unsure to say.”
Mr Gillane said, “Santina did not cause the injuries to herself.
She replied, “No.”
“Would you like to name anyone else with her?” Mr Gillane asked.
The accused replied that she had been woken from her sleep and that earlier there had been an argument between herself and Michael Cawley – Santina’s dad and Ms Harrington’s then partner – and she left her friend’s apartment where the argument occurred and went home to her own apartment and that there was a call at 3 a.m. which she did not expect.
Mr Gillane said that after Michael called with Santina at that time, he left alone, leaving Karen and Santina as the only two people in Karen’s apartment.
The accused said, “I accept me and Santina were alone for a period in my apartment.”
Mr Gillane said, “We have seen Mr Cawley walking around town on the video. You are alone. She is alive.”
Ms Harrington replied, “That would have been me… at that time, yeah.”
“She is uninjured?” Mr Gillane SC said.
The accused replied, “No I can’t confirm that.”
“Why not?” the prosecution senior counsel asked.
She said she did not know anything about the injuries apart from what she heard like everyone else who heard evidence in the trial.
“If there were injuries, how could you not have noticed?” he asked.
She replied, “I ask myself the same. All I can recall back when I vision Santina, I don’t see any bruises or injuries or blood or anything like that.”
Mr Gillane recalled the pathologist’s evidence that when Santina had head injuries she would not have been capable of crying.
“Can you help us solve the mystery. Will you do that?” he asked. The accused made no reply.
“What was done to that child was done to her when only you and she were there?” he said.
She replied, “I disagree with that.”
“Are you going to be big enough to say Michael did not do it, that Santina did not do it to herself. Do you accept that?” he asked.
She replied, “I accept Santina did not do it.”
Mr Gillane asked, “Are you trying to say something? Do you accept Michael did not do this to his child?”
She replied, “I accept I did not do this to Santina.”
“Do you accept Michael did not do this to the child?” he asked.
She replied, “I do not know what happened between 3 and 5. I was suddenly woken from my sleep.”
Mr Gillane said, “You have seen Mr Cawley (on CCTV) walking around town. We can see him on Winthrop Street and Oliver Plunkett Street. Do you accept he did not do this to his child?”
She replied, “It is not for me to answer. I am not in a position to answer. I don’t know.”
Mr Gillane said, “Is that your escape hatch?”
She replied, “I am not escaping anything.”
The trial continues.