38-year-old woman found guilty of murdering 2-year-old Santina Cawley


Today, shortly before 4pm, 38-year-old Karen Harrington was found guilty of murdering two-year-old Santina Cawley, and has been given a life sentence.

Ms Harrington pleaded not guilty to the crime which took place in her Co. Cork flat on July 5, 2019. However, after a four-week trial, all 11 jurors concluded today that she was indeed guilty.

Independent.ie report that Santina’s father Michael Cawley and Ms Harrington were involved in a sexual relationship at the time of Santina’s murder. Mr Crawley and Ms Harrington had been drinking at a friend’s house the night of Santina’s death, before a row broke out and Ms Harrington decided to return home to her Elderwood Park flat.

The court heard that Ms Harrington had also been smoking cannabis that evening, with her friend and neighbour. Mr Cawley later returned to Ms Harrington’s flat around 3am and left again to visit a cousin, leaving his youngest child in Ms Harrington’s trusted care, believing the two had “a great relationship”.

During Mr Crawley’s absence, Ms Harrington’s neighbours claim to have heard screaming and the sound of doors slamming coming from Ms Harrington’s flat. One neighbour was concerned after hearing Santina’s cries and rang the Gardaí. 

The Gardaí arrived around 4:52am, however, they noted that there was total silence coming from inside Ms Harrington’s flat at that time, unable to get a response out of anyone inside. The Gardaí left only to be called back again 15 minutes later, when Mr Cawley returned to the flat to find his two-year-old daughter severely injured.

The two-year-old toddler passed away after suffering a traumatic brain injury and a severe spinal injury, as well as a complex fracture to her skull, legs, arms and ribs.

Little Santina was discovered by the Gardaí shortly after 5am on that July morning, lying naked and splattered with blood, with critical injuries.

Delivering the news today, the registrar asked the 11 jurors if they had reached a verdict, to which the jury foreman confirmed that they had. “You say the accused, Karen Harrington, is guilty,” the registrar then stated.