The neighbor was “sneaked out” by the behavior of the murder charged in the night

A neighbor accused of the murder, Karen Harrington, 37, said he called Gardaí after becoming very concerned that a crying baby was being sarcastically mocked from next door.

Ylan Olney told the Central Criminal Court he was “a little startled” by the defendant’s behavior in the early hours of the morning.

Ms Harrington, of Lakelands Crescent, Mahon, Cork, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of two-year-old Santina Cawley.

The trial will be conducted before Judge Michael MacGrath and a jury composed of seven men and four women.

Santina was found naked with serious injuries on a blanket at 26 Elderwood Park, off Boreenamanna Road, Cork, at 5am on 5 July 2019. Mrs. Harrington was living in the flat at the time.

The child was spotted as her father Michael Cawley, 37, returned to his then-girlfriend’s flat after leaving the property two hours earlier to walk alone into Cork city center to find his cousin.

Despite the efforts of doctors and paramedics to stabilize Santina, she was pronounced dead shortly after being admitted to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

She had suffered a fractured skull, traumatic brain injury and a serious spinal injury.

Mr Olney told the trial he was concerned about the defendant’s conduct.

He said he went to bed at 2 a.m. but heard a commotion outside a sidewalk of an apartment complex.

“It was like someone having a fit or throwing a tantrum. I was like, ‘Oh god, here we are again,'” he said.

“The defendant slammed the sliding door open and closed. Keep slamming the door.”

Mr Olney said he told the accused: “Listen you bloody dingbat, you better stop this or I’ll call the gardaí.”

He went back to his apartment but the defendant started yelling at him to call the Gardaí.

“She was like, ‘Dylan, go and call her, call her, call her,'” he said. “I was a little scared because she was acting weird.”

Some time later, the accused knocked on his door and asked for a lighter.

“I said you won’t get anything from me. I closed and locked the door,” Mr. Olney said.

Then he got worried when he heard a baby crying from the apartment next door for 15 or 20 minutes.

“Next I heard a child – a crying child. That worried me,” he said. “I didn’t think a kid should be in a situation like that.”

He said he could hear a female voice coming from the apartment next door.

“I could hear mockery — ‘Oh poor baby, alright, stop crying baby,’ something like that. I thought I heard her say ‘stop’ or ‘shut up.’ I said I’m going to call the police because I didn’t like what was going on.”

Mr Olney recalled that the child’s screams were made worse by the taunt, and he said he believes he mentioned his concerns about the child’s safety when he called Gardaí.

He said he called her because “I was concerned for the well-being of the child I was hearing.”

“I didn’t think it was the way to comfort a crying child – it was the opposite. “Ah, poor baby,” it was kind of sarcastic.

“I could tell that from the muffled noise I heard.”

Mr Olney said he saw Gardaí arriving at 4.52am and went to let them in and take them to flat 26.

However, they were unable to gain entry to the apartment and no more noise came from inside.

“It was dead quiet – you could hear a pin drop,” he said.

Gardaí left a short time later, but after a few minutes he heard a man coming down the sidewalk in front of his apartment.

“I looked outside. It was a guy [Michael Cawley, Santina’s father]. I recognized him – I knew he was related to her [Ms Harrington] somehow.

“I asked him what the hell is going on? What’s up with yours? She caused a stir.”

Mr Olney said he told the man the woman had “gone mad”.

Minutes later, the man from number 26 came and shouted that his child was dead.

“I heard him come out and yell, ‘Call an ambulance, my baby is dead.’ He roared – heartbroken. He kept yelling, “My baby is dead, my baby is dead.” I called the Gardaí. He was very distressed – he just screamed.”

Mr Olney said when officers arrived one asked him what was going on.

“He [the garda] said, “What are we looking at?” I said murder.”

Mr Olney said he also saw Ms Harrington run away from the scene, only to return later in a small silver car.

Another neighbor, Martin McSweeney, said he saw the accused early that morning and she looked “like a ghost”.

The witness was awakened at 3 a.m. by the sound of a sliding door opening and closing 30 or 40 times.

He said she muttered to herself at one point, saying, “I’ll show ’em, I’ll show ’em — this isn’t a f***ing joke.”

He said she seemed “freaked out” and wondered if she was “drunk or on drugs.”

Another neighbor, Aoife Niamh McGaley, who has known Ms Harrington since they were teenagers, said she heard arguments, breaking glass and screams from the neighbor’s apartment in the early hours of July 5

“I heard noises. I heard screams,” she said. “It was 3 a.m. I heard a fight and it sounded like a fight between a man and a woman. It was muted.

“Shortly after, I heard Karen yell, ‘I’m going to tell them all.’ Then I heard glass shatter, but that didn’t make any sense at all.”

Ms McGaley said she believed one of the voices involved in the argument was quite low pitched and sounded male.

Later she heard a woman scream.

“She (the defendant) screamed, ‘I’ll say it, I’ll say it,'” she said. “I was in my bedroom. I jumped up immediately. I grabbed my hoodie and put it on. I ran up and down my stairs to Karen’s apartment.”

Ms McGaley said she knocked on the door repeatedly to inquire about Ms Harrington’s well-being.

“I was really concerned for Karen’s safety,” she said.

The witness said she was convinced she heard the sounds of a man and woman arguing from the apartment.

She once said she saw what she thought was “a person’s shadow” around the apartment, but couldn’t make it out clearly.

“I could make out [the sound of] someone is sobbing. At that point, I was very, very concerned,” she said.

A short time later Mrs. Harrington opened her door. She was wearing pajama bottoms and a thong vest.

“She looked very distressed,” said Ms. McGaley. “She looked very upset. She was calmer within herself.”

The witness said she spotted a Betty Boop statue idolizing the defendant lying smashed in the apartment, with fragments strewn across the floor.

“She kept apologizing [for the noise]. She said she didn’t want to cause anything [a problem]. Karen came and turned around – I noticed a mark on the side of her face. It looked like a chunk [of her hair] had been torn down.

“I got the impression that she was afraid of something. I have a bad feeling about her.”

Ms McGaley said she saw no one in the flat and returned to her own home when she was assured by Ms Harrington that she was going to bed.

“But I wasn’t happy with the situation at all. I went back to my own apartment. But I definitely heard arguing with someone with a deep voice,” she said.

She was so concerned that she decided to call Mrs Harrington’s sister.

This call was made at 3.27am and at 3.42am Mrs Harrington called them looking for a fire for a cigarette.

Around 5 a.m., Ms McGaley said she heard more screams.

“She was outside the apartment yelling at a guy named Dylan. She yelled, ‘Dylan, come on, come on – call the guards’.”

A short time later, Ms McGaley said she heard a man howl.

Sean Gillane SC, for the state, said Santina’s injuries could not have been sustained in normal rough and stumbling child’s play.

A post-mortem was performed at CUH and found she had sustained multiple trauma and “devastating injuries with no prospect of recovery.”

The court heard that gardaí searched Ms Harrington’s home and found bloodstains and tufts of hair from the child next to a couch.

A stud from Santina’s left earlobe lay on the floor.

“There was hardly any part of her body that wasn’t showing some form of trauma,” Mr Gillane said.

The process, which is expected to take up to five weeks, will continue. The neighbor was “sneaked out” by the behavior of the murder charged in the night

Fry Electronics Team

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