Garda Apology For Woman At Centre Of Kerry Babies Case

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Gardaí in Co. Kerry have announced that a DNA profile from a baby who was found in Caherciveen in 1984 has confirmed that Joanne Hayes was ‘conclusively’ not his mother.

The baby boy, who became known as ‘Baby John’ – was found at White Strand beach in Caherciveen on April 14, 1984.

A full DNA profile has been established from a blood sample taken from the murdered newborn baby and preserved by Gardaí. Although blood group testing in the 1980s quickly established no link between the baby and the woman at the centre of the investigation, DNA testing had not been carried out until now.

Officers have formally apologised to Ms Hayes as they also confirmed they are re-opening the murder investigation.

The case shocked the nation in 1984 as the tiny remains of Baby John were found with multiple stab wounds in a plastic bag on the rocks of White Strand beach.

The people of Ireland were left stunned by the Kerry Babies case in which a single woman was accused of having two children by two different fathers at the same time in 1984. A tribunal of inquiry was held into the handling of the investigation by Gardaí in the 1980s.

The local head of the Garda division, Superintendent Flor Murphy said every aspect will be explored. He stressed the review was totally focused on the Caherciveen baby, explaining that DNA information would be of assistance if Gardaí received new information about its parents.

Joanne Hayes, from Abbeydorney, outside Tralee, was an unmarried mother who’d been having an affair with a local married man, Jeremiah Locke, resulting in a pregnancy, however, there was no evidence of her giving birth.

This raised Garda suspicions during their investigations into the mystery behind the baby who was discovered on White Strand, who later became known as ‘Baby John’.

Ms Hayes was arrested and confessed to the murder. The 25-year-old initially told Gardaí she had miscarried after four months, but later said she had a baby boy, which she delivered while standing up in a field.

She revealed to authorities that the baby appeared to be dead, panicking, she went home, returning the following morning to the spot and placing the baby in a drain.

Gardaí extracted confessions from her family that she had beaten and stabbed the baby to death, and that her siblings had disposed of it at Slea Head, suggesting that the baby was hers.

However in a sensational twist just a day after their court appearance, the body of a second baby was found in a hole of water on farmland owned by the Hayes’ family.

The Garda presumption then was that twins were born to Ms Hayes, but results of blood tests on tissue, proved that inaccurate.

The charges were not dropped until October 1984 and there was an immediate outcry after details of the case became public knowledge.

The Hayes family claimed they had been ill-treated by being forced to make statements amid trumped up charges.

The Kerry Babies Tribunal lasted 82 days in 1985 and ended with High Court Judge, Kevin Lynch, clearing the Garda investigating teams in general, while finding that the investigation was ‘slipshod’.

Superintendent Flor Murphy made an apology to the Hayes family on Tuesday, January 16th.