Cork Woman Facing Life Sentence After Guilty Verdict In Gruesome Murder of Two-Year-Old Santina

Cork Central Criminal Court - Pic: The Courts Service of Ireland
Santina Cawley

A woman has been found guilty of murdering two-year-old Santina Cawley.

Karen Harrington had denied murdering the toddler in her apartment at Lakeland’s Crescent in Mahon, Co Cork on July 5th 2019.

In July 2019, Harrington was in a relationship with Santina’s father, Michael.

On the day in question, the jury heard the couple had been drinking and that following a row, Michael left her alone in the apartment with Santina.

He returned at about 5am to find his daughter lying naked on a duvet. She was rushed to hospital but died in her mother’s arms a few hours later.

A post-mortem revealed over 53 injuries.

The jury heard distressing evidence of how she died as a result of a traumatic brain injury and an injury to her spinal cord.

Harrington took the stand in her defence and repeatedly denied having anything to do with what happened to Santina.

The prosecuting barrister, Sean Gillane, described her version of events as a ‘doughnut shaped account‘ with a massive hole in the middle. This was a reference to the hours in which Santina suffered the injuries that eventually claimed her life.

The jury returned its unanimous verdict after just under five hours of deliberations, to leave Harrington facing a life sentence for murder.