Cork toddler Santina Cawley (2) ‘died from blunt force trauma’, murder trial told

A toddler discovered bare and critically injured on a quilt in a Cork flat with 53 totally different accidents died from blunt power trauma.

he revelation got here as Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster gave proof on the ninth day of the homicide trial of Karen Harrington (37).

The trial had beforehand heard that Santina Cawley (2) was discovered with 49 totally different exterior accidents and 4 severe inside accidents.

Harrington of Lakelands Crescent, Mahon, Cork has pleaded not responsible to the homicide of Santina at a Central Criminal Court trial earlier than Mr Justice Michael MacGrath and a jury of seven males and 4 girls.

Santina was discovered mendacity bare on a grimy blanket with important accidents at 26 Elderwood Park off the Boreenamanna Road in Cork metropolis at 5am on July 5 2019.

Karen Harrington lived within the flat on the time.

The little woman was found badly injured when her father, Michael Cawley (37), returned to his then-girlfriend’s flat having left the property two hours earlier at 3am to stroll alone into Cork metropolis centre in a bid to find his Limerick cousin.

Despite determined efforts by docs and paramedics to stabilise the situation of the little woman, she was pronounced useless a short while after being rushed to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

A put up mortem examination was performed at CUH which discovered Santina had sustained poly trauma and “devastating injuries with no chance of recovery” together with a fractured cranium, a traumatic mind damage and a extreme spinal damage.

Dr Bolster – who has performed over 16,000 put up mortem examinations all through her profession – advised the trial she performed an examination of Santina at CUH.

Dr Bolster additionally examined the scene the place Santina was found.


Karen Harrington. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Cork Courts

Santina was discovered to have suffered a fancy fracture to her cranium which had displaced a whole 10cm portion of cranium bone.

Dr Bolster stated she additionally famous a fracture to the kid’s femur which had fragmented on the joint bone.

Santina had additionally suffered a fracture to the higher portion of her humerus or proper arm bone which had additionally resulted in additional bone fragmentation.

Virtually each a part of Santina’s physique displayed indicators of bruises and abrasions.

The cranium fracture and trauma to her head had resulted in an acute cerebral contusion in addition to a traumatic mind damage.

Dr Bolster additionally discovered that there was bleeding into the spinal twine in Santina’s neck space.

Multiple emboli had been discovered all through her system from bone marrow linked to the fractures she had suffered.

“(This child) had suffered a serious traumatic brain injury that would have resulted in a deep coma,” she stated.

Dr Bolster additionally famous that the fracture to Santina’s cranium was very complicated and prolonged over a big portion of her head.


Michael Cawley, father of Santina Cawley. Photo: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

She stated the character of the accidents had been in step with blunt power trauma and weren’t in step with any sort of unintentional fall.

Dr Bolster stated there was a traumatic mind damage and an damage to the higher cervical spinal twine.

“In my view these were not accidental,” she stated.

“There was no manner this little one was strolling round with these fractures.

“Once the head injury was inflicted she would have been in a coma,” Dr Bolster stated, noting that the kid would then not have been in a position to cry.

“She would have been in a deep coma. Extensive injury was executed and the mind was swollen. This was a extreme and traumatic mind damage.

“There was additionally bleeding into and across the spinal twine.

“Obviously the pinnacle has been struck and this can end in motion (within the mind and spinal twine.

“The head has been swung around or something has struck the head….this will result in movement of the brain and stretching of the spinal cord.”

Dr Bolster confirmed she had additionally referred components of the put up mortem examination and histology to Dr Michael McDermott at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Dublin.

There was no hint of any underlying sickness with Santina.

“There was absolutely no evidence of underlying bone disease.”

“(But) a child’s bones are elastic and a child’s bones are more easily fractured than an adult’s bones.”

The jury had been beforehand learn particulars of a number of statements Karen Harrington gave to Gardai on July 5 and in a while July 8/9.

Harrington voluntarily agreed to go to the Bridewell Garda Station within the hours after Santina was discovered critically injured on July 5.

At the station, she requested Det Sergeant Clodagh O’Sullivan how Santina was.

“I informed her that Santina had passed away – she said she felt sick.”

The trial was advised Harrington voluntarily gave her clothes to Gardai for testing and likewise agreed to provide blood, finger-nail and swab samples.

On July 8, Harrington was arrested at an deal with in Blackrock and brought to Gurranabraher Garda Station for questioning.

She was very emotional throughout elements of 5 interviews she gave to Gardai between July 8 and 9.

Inspector David Callaghan stated that Harrington was requested about what had occurred to Santina.

She stated she had returned to her personal Elderwood condo from her buddy Martina Higgins’ residence the place she had been socialising round 1.30am on July 5 after feeling in poor health.

“I felt unwell. I went home. I got sick in my hands. (I had) two glasses of vodka and a Heineken…and two glasses of cider.”

The defendant was adamant she didn’t have rather a lot to drink.

But she admitted she was “ranting and raving” throughout a later row with a neighbour over the noise she was making.

Michael Cawley returned to her condo (round 3am) with Santina and he or she awoke.

“I woke up and Michael and me were arguing. I don’t know what we were arguing about. We were arguing and (then) he was gone. She (Santina) was crying. She was in hysterics. Michael was gone.”

“It was chaos – I can’t remember the argument. It was verbal. He did not hit me.”

“I was trying to calm her (Santina). She was roasting so I took them (her clothes) off. My last memory of her is taking her clothes off.”

“She was wearing nothing but a nappy. I took off her clothes because she was roasting. I laid down beside her…I soothed her. I picked her up. I had her in my arms. She was roasting but she was OK.”

The defendant insisted she was a really caring particular person.

“She (had been) roaring and crying and I tried to console her. Michael was gone.”

Karen Harrington insisted the one individuals in her condo that night time had been herself, Michael and Santina Cawley.

The defendant stated she fell asleep for a 3rd time on a sofa in her condo close to the place Santina was sleeping on a blanket.

She was awoken by Michael Cawley on his return (5am) and his demand to know what had occurred to Santina.

“He (Michael) was roaring at me: ‘Karen, Karen, what did you do to my child?’ I’m blank – I just remember the words.”

“I took her. She was lifeless. She was white. Pale and weak and lifeless. He was saying what did you do to my child? I panicked and ran. I don’t know but I ran. My mind is leaving me.”

The defendant advised Gardai she had unintentionally damaged a water glass and had minimize her proper foot on the damaged glass mendacity on the ground.

She left Elderwood on foot and later returned to the scene in a buddy’s automotive.

The defendant repeatedly advised Gardai she felt in poor health.

“I can’t – I feel sick in my stomach. My mind is blank, just blank. I can’t understand, myself. I want to vomit. I feel very weak – I don’t feel in a position to speak.”

On July 4, Harrington advised Sgt Michelle O’Leary in a voluntary assertion she had fallen asleep within the condo within the early hours and solely awoke when her then associate, Mr Cawley, requested her what had occurred to his little one.

She stated she had earlier had an argument over “small stuff….couple’s stuff” with Mr Cawley.

Mr Cawley left the condo and he or she fell asleep.

“She stated she fell asleep and the following factor she recalled was Michael Cawley shouting at her ‘Karen – what happened my child’,” Sgt O’Leary stated.

The Garda stated the defendant advised her Mr Cawley positioned Santina in her arms however she instantly handed the kid again and left the condo.

Sgt O’Leary famous the scent of alcohol from Harrington on the Elderwood scenes spherical 6am.

“I would describe her (Harrington) as hungover. There was a smell of alcohol from her breath but she was not intoxicated,” she stated.

The trial, which is predicted to final for 4 weeks, continues.

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