Santina Cawley murder trial: Karen Harrington found guilty of murdering Cork toddler 

The jury returned to Courtroom 6 at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork at 3.45 this afternoon.
Santina Cawley murder trial: Karen Harrington found guilty of murdering Cork toddler 

Karen Harrington arriving at the Central Criminal Court, Anglesea Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Karen Harrington has been found guilty of murdering two-year-old Santina Cawley.

The jury returned to Courtroom 6 at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork at 3.45 this afternoon.

The registrar asked the eleven jurors if they had reached a verdict on which all of them were agreed. 

Two-year-old Santina Cawley, who died at Elderwood Apartments, Cork. 
Two-year-old Santina Cawley, who died at Elderwood Apartments, Cork. 

The jury foreman said they had. 

The registrar then stated, “You say the accused, Karen Harrington, is guilty.” 

The murder trial was going into the beginning of its fourth week on what is Day 14 of the trial.

The eleven jurors – one was excused early in the case – were thanked by Mr Justice Michael McGrath for their attention to the case at the Central Criminal Court. He excused them for life from further service on any jury.

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

She even opted to give evidence in her own defence – something she was not legally required to do – and used the opportunity to say, “I did not murder Santina Cawley.” 

However, the jury did not believe her and returned their unanimous guilty verdict.

Earlier today

The jury requested two pieces of evidence to be sent into the jury room for their consideration today – a recording made by a resident at the apartment complex of a door being banged repeatedly and a woman shouting in the early hours of July 5 2019, and a powerpoint presentation made by Rhona Campell of the Garda Síochána Analysis Service showing the different movements, as captured by CCTV, of Michael Cawley and Karen Harrington at various locations around Elderwood and elsewhere in Cork city concentrating on the period from 11pm on July 4 to 6am on July 5 2019.

The eleven jurors listened to Mr Justice Michael MacGrath on Friday as he addressed them on legal principles which they must use and on some of the main evidence which they heard from witnesses.

 They deliberated on Friday for one hour and 14 minutes before the judge directed them to suspend their deliberations for the weekend and resume today.

The judge told them they must try the case coldly and dispassionately.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath told the four women and seven men of the jury that they must exclude any sympathy they have for the accused and her family or for the deceased and her family.

Mr Justice MacGrath said, “Your verdict must be unanimous, whether it is a verdict of guilty or not guilty.

“It is very important that you take your time. There is no rush. Take as much time as you require. 

"It is extremely important you consider all of what you have heard in this courtroom. It is also important that everyone’s voice is heard in the jury room – make your voice known, make your concerns known.” 

 Many of the parties to the case – family members of the deceased and the accused, friends of the parties, lawyers for the prosecution and defence, members of An Garda Síochána who have been investigating the case for almost three years and members of the media – remained in and around the courthouse today in anticipation of the jury’s verdict.

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