Gardaí make ‘good progress’ in murder inquiry of Cork girl (2)

Postmortem showed child suffered severe blunt force trauma to the head

State Pathologist Margaret Bolster enters Elderwood Apartments on Boreenamanna Road, Cork after a girl (2) was found seriously injured, and later died. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

State Pathologist Margaret Bolster enters Elderwood Apartments on Boreenamanna Road, Cork after a girl (2) was found seriously injured, and later died. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

 

Gardaí have made “good progress” in the murder inquiry into the death of a girl (2) in Cork on Friday, after a postmortem showed she suffered severe blunt force trauma to the head.

Senior garda sources are particularly satisfied with progress in relation to the examination of CCTV footage and forensic work. However gardaí say much remains to be done before they establish what exactly happened.

Garda technical experts are examining two separate sites at the Elderwood apartment complex on the Boreenamanna Road. The child was found unresponsive with serious head injuries when gardaí were called to an apartment at the complex at about 5.30am on Friday. The child died in hospital at about 9.20am on Friday.

Gardaí initially cordoned off the scene where the child was found – a second storey apartment in the Elderwood Park block belonging to a woman who is the partner of the child’s father.

They also cordoned off a duplex apartment in the nearby Elderwood Drive area where it is understood that the woman, her partner and his child attended a party late on Thursday night into Friday morning.

Both scenes are still being examined by Garda technical experts and gardaí have also begun studying CCTV footage from the entire complex, which comprises three separate blocks.

They are trying to establish what time exactly the couple and the child left the party and if they returned together to the woman’s apartment. It is understood CCTV footage has been of assistance in that regard.

Witnesses

Upon receipt of the results of the postmortem by Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster gardaí upgraded their inquiry to a murder investigation on Saturday . Over 30 detectives have been allocated to the case.

Gardaí have confirmed they have taken over 50 witness statements through door to door inquiries as well as interviews of those who were at the party which it is understood was attended by just a few people.

“We’ve done a lot of work over the last 48 hours and our inquiries have become much more focused but there remains a lot of work to be done in order to move to the next phase of the investigation,” said a source.

Gardaí refused to be drawn on whether any arrests are imminent in the investigation. They have taken voluntary witness statements from the child’s father and his partner.

It is understood that the father, who was caring for the child since March this year , lived with the child at a flat in Grattan Street in the city centre.

However he used to regularly bring the child with him when he stayed over at his partner’s home at Elderwood Park as was the case on Thursday night/Friday morning when gardaí were called to the complex.

Gardaí have also been in touch with Tusla and are liaising with officials from the agency in Cork in relation to the child’s care while they have also sought access to the child’s medical records.

Noise

Meanwhile, gardaí are also liaising with the child’s mother, who lives on the city’s northside, and discussions are ongoing regarding the release of the child’s body and funeral arrangements.

It emerged on Friday that gardaí had been called earlier to the complex about 4am after a neighbour complained of noise but gardaí were unable to gain access to the apartment at the centre of the report.

It is understood that gardaí were not notified in that initial report about a child being in the apartment and, when they heard no disturbance and could not gain access to the apartment, they left the complex.

It is understood that they then returned at about 5.30am when the child’s father contacted a neighbour and asked them to call the emergency services which was when gardaí found the injured infant.

Meanwhile Garda technical experts are continuing to carry out forensic examinations of two cars, which they seized from the complex on Friday afternoon.