Toddler murder trial jury shown CCTV of woman leaving apartment complex

Karen Harrington of Lakelands Crescent in Mahon, Cork has entered a not guilty plea to the murder of Santina Cawley on July 5th 2019 at an apartment in Elderwood Park, Boreenmanna Road, Cork city.
Toddler murder trial jury shown CCTV of woman leaving apartment complex

Olivia Kelleher

A jury in a murder trial has been shown CCTV footage of a female leaving an apartment complex in Cork a few minutes before gardaí arrived onsite after the alarm was raised following the discovery of a critically injured two-year-old girl.

Karen Harrington of Lakelands Crescent in Mahon, Cork has gone on trial at a Central Criminal Court sitting in the city. She has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Santina Cawley on July 5th, 2019 at an apartment in Elderwood Park, Boreenmanna Road, Cork city.

The court previously heard that the 37-year-old was in a relationship with Michael Cawley, the father of the child, at the time of the alleged offence.

On the second day of the hearing the jury of five women and seven men heard evidence from Garda Patrick Russell and Detective Garda Maurice O’Connor who were responsible for gathering and collating CCTV footage in the aftermath of the death of the toddler.

Garda Russell called to large numbers of premises in the days and weeks after Santina was found with critically injuries at 26 Elderwood Park. Santina passed away from her injuries in hospital a few hours after she was discovered in the apartment with multiple bruises to the body, a fracture of the skull, a fracture of the ribs and a brain injury.

CCTV footage

Prosecuting barrister, Sean Gillane, SC, told the court that a canvas of footage was collected as part of their probe in to the death of the youngster. The CCTV footage was harvested from houses and business in Boreenmanna Road, Blackrock and in the city centre.

Gardai combed hundreds of hours of CCTV footage in to order to put a “montage of relevant footage” together to show the jury.

The jurors were shown CCTV footage of a woman, which gardai said was believed to be Ms Harrington, walking out of the Elderwood complex at 5.15am on July 5th, 2019 having left 26 Elderwood Park at 5.11am.

The jury was also played CCTV footage of the woman walking along the Boreenmanna Road in the direction of Blackrock in Cork.  CCTV footage from various businesses and homes captured images of the woman until 5.41am when she was filmed on Church Road.

Gardai arrived at the apartment complex at 5.23am after they were contacted following the discovery of the critically injured toddler.

CCTV footage was also shown of Gardai earlier arriving at the complex at 4.56am and leaving at 5.01am. In an outline of the Prosecution evidence on Monday Mr Gillane said that jurors would be told that gardai had been contacted by a man in an apartment who had expressed concern about noise coming from 26 Elderwood Park. The evidence would be that gardai knocked on the door of the property and got no reply and left as there was no sign of there being a disturbance onsite.

The case is expected to last up to five weeks. It will involve the calling of up to 100 witnesses.

The first day of the trial at the Central Criminal Court sitting in Cork heard that Santina sustained polytrauma and blunt force trauma and that she sustained injuries to almost every part of her body.

Mr Gillane gave an outline of the State’s case to the jury in which he indicated that that Dylan Olney, who lives in an apartment next to where Santina was found in a critical condition, would give evidence that at about 4am on July 5th, 2019 he heard the sound of screaming and banging originating from the apartment.

“Not only did he hear the child crying he could hear the accused (Karen Harrington) shouting directly at the child, mocking, taunting and terrorising the child.”

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