Philip Cairns: No schoolbag DNA link to late DJ Eamon Cooke

Gardaí say aspects of claims by woman confirmed, are treating them very seriously

No forensic link has been established between deceased paedophile DJ Eamon Cooke and the schoolbag of missing presumed murdered Philip Cairns.

The boy was aged 13 years when he went missing after leaving his south Dublin home to return to school after lunch in 1986.

Earlier this year it emerged a woman who was a young girl at the time had contacted the Garda and alleged Cooke had taken Philip to the studios of in Inchicore, Dublin, of pirate station Radio Dublin, which Cooke owned.

The woman alleged she had seen Philip injured on the floor and had passed out. When she woke up she was in a car with Cooke and she never saw Philip again.


Never disclosed

Detectives working on the case say they believe a number of people who were children at the time the 13-year-old vanished on October 23rd, 1986, have information about the schoolbag - found six days after Philip disappeared - that they have never disclosed.

Garda sources said it is believed a number of children were forced, possibly by Cooke, to leave the bag in the laneway.

In June Supt Peter Duff told the media forensic and DNA testing on the bag had failed to link it to any person of interest and it has now been further confirmed Cooke's DNA was not on the bag.

Philip was last seen leaving his home on Ballyroan Road in Rathfarnham at about 1.30pm, on Thursday, October 23rd, 1986, as he began his journey on foot back to Coláiste Éanna after lunch.

Extensive searches

Despite extensive searches and numerous appeals for information, no trace of him has been found, apart from the canvas schoolbag which was discovered in a laneway beside his house six days after the disappearance.

Two months ago it emerged a woman, who was aged nine at the time Philip disappeared, had come forward and named Cooke as his killer. She initially contacted gardaí following an appeal for information in 2011,

A convicted paedophile, Cooke was aged 79 when he died in June in a north Dublin hospice.

The woman said Cooke had struck Philip with an implement in the studios of Radio Dublin and he had died and his body was disposed of at an unknown location.

Gardaí are trying to establish the veracity of these claims, but say aspects of the woman’s story have been confirmed and they are treating her claims very seriously.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times