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Mother of slain Kerry baby will be ‘treated with compassion’

 4 hrs ago


The mother of Baby John will be treated with ‘sensitivity and compassion’ if she presents herself to gardaí investigating the death of her child, whose body was found on a Kerry beach 37 years ago.a sandy beach next to a body of water: The child, later dubbed ‘Baby John’, was discovered with 28 stab wounds on White Strand Beach in Caherciveen in 1984, leading to a Garda investigation, a tribunal and a massive political debate. Pic: Shutterstock© Provided by Extra.ie The child, later dubbed ‘Baby John’, was discovered with 28 stab wounds on White Strand Beach in Caherciveen in 1984, leading to a Garda investigation, a tribunal and a massive political debate. Pic: Shutterstock

The Kerry Babies probe has been given new hope after DNA samples were taken from the murdered infant this week after his body was exhumed.

The child, later named ‘Baby John’, was discovered with 28 stab wounds on White Strand Beach in Caherciveen in 1984, leading to a controversial Garda investigation, a subsequent tribunal and a massive political debate.a clock tower on top of a pole: Pic: Shutterstock© Provided by Extra.ie Pic: Shutterstock

The latest move by gardaí could help crack the mystery that shocked the nation as a result of the nature of the killing and the Garda handling of the case. However, they are urging the mother to come forward in order to match her DNA with the infant.

Chief Superintendent Flor Murphy told Radio Kerry that he believes she has endured 37 years of heartache despite never offering to assist in the investigation.

‘I believe, and my colleagues believe, that she has suffered loss and pain and hurt and has grieved over the last 37 years,’ he said.a group of clouds on a rocky beach: Pic: Shutterstock© Provided by Extra.ie Pic: Shutterstock

‘I’m appealing for the mother of Baby John to please come forward and help us to resolve and unlock this. She will be dealt with [with] sensitivity and compassion.

‘We have qualified, professional personnel to deal with her because we totally understand the difficulty and pain that she has endured.’

Supt Murphy stressed the importance of not letting the Kerry Babies murder investigation be ignored. ‘If a five-year-old boy was found stabbed to death in Ireland this morning there would be outrage, so An Garda Síochána have an obligation and a responsibility to investigate these matters,’ he said. ‘We want to deliver justice and closure for a five-day-old baby whose very, very brief life was cut short. We have a commitment and dedication to deliver justice because Baby John deserves it.’Pic: Shutterstock© Provided by Extra.ie Pic: Shutterstock

Taking the DNA samples from the remains of Baby John took just a few hours, before he was reinterred at Holy Cross Cemetery. His DNA may help find the killer, and follows on from a major operation in 2018, when gardaí took DNA samples from people in the Caherciveen region in the hope that they could track down the baby’s family.

A forensic anthropologist was at the exhumation on Tuesday to take bone samples that may help reveal more about the way in which the baby was killed.

Bone samples may also reveal whether the baby was underfed, shed light on the type of weapon used and provide other clues about the infant’s life and death.

The exhumation started at first light and the remains were brought to Kerry University Hospital in Tralee.a sign on the side of a road: The exhumation started at first light and the remains were brought to Kerry University Hospital in Tralee. Pic: Google Street View© Provided by Extra.ie The exhumation started at first light and the remains were brought to Kerry University Hospital in Tralee. Pic: Google Street View

It was conducted by gardaí from Killarney District, assisted by gardaí from the Garda Technical Bureau, a forensic anthropologist and relevant personnel from Kerry County Council and the Health Service Executive.

Supt Murphy said that this wouldn’t have been done ‘unless absolutely necessary’. ‘It was conducted with sensitivity, dignity and respect,’ he said.

He said gardaí still believe the answer to solving the cold case lies in south Kerry and the people with information they have not provided.

‘Yesterday’s step was important to resolve the sad events of 37 years ago and try and bring closure to these events,’ he said, adding that, in conjunction with the other work being undertaken by investigating gardaí, justice will be delivered.

In 2018, authorities issued a formal apology to Kerry woman Joanne Hayes for the stress she was put through as a result of the initial inquiry into the murder.

It was established that Ms Hayes was not the mother of the Caherciveen baby and had nothing to do with the child’s death.a person looking at the camera: In 2018, authorities issued a formal apology to Kerry woman Joanne Hayes for the stress she was put through as a result of the initial inquiry into the murder. Pic: RollingNews.ie© Provided by Extra.ie In 2018, authorities issued a formal apology to Kerry woman Joanne Hayes for the stress she was put through as a result of the initial inquiry into the murder. Pic: RollingNews.ie

Last year, it was reported that Joanne Hayes and her family will receive €2.5million in compensation for the suffering they endured during the Kerry Babies controversy.

The parents of Baby John have never been identified, nor has his killer. The State pathologist at the time, Dr John Harbison, conducted the postmortem on the infant which revealed the extent of the injuries, including 28 stab wounds, four of which pierced the heart, a broken neck and numerous other small injuries.

He said the baby had been born in the previous three days and the pathologist had no doubt that the injuries were deliberately inflicted. Gardaí believe the killer took the baby’s life in a frenzied state. A tribunal of inquiry report, written by the late Judge Kevin Lynch in 1985, accused Ms Hayes of killing her own baby on the family farm.

The gardaí were largely exonerated in that report, while members of the Hayes family were accused of telling ‘barefaced lies’.a man and a woman walking down a sidewalk: Last year, it was reported that Joanne Hayes and her family will receive €2.5million in compensation for the suffering they endured during the Kerry Babies controversy. Pic: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie© Provided by Extra.ie Last year, it was reported that Joanne Hayes and her family will receive €2.5million in compensation for the suffering they endured during the Kerry Babies controversy. Pic: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

In January 2019, the then-government offered the Hayes family an ‘ex-gratia’ compensation package that would include an out-of-court settlement to be decided by an independent panel of experts.

However, part of that agreement included an undertaking that no further court actions would follow, and a demand that the settlement terms would remain secret.

Solicitor Patrick Mann, on behalf of the Hayes family, rejected the offer and then moved to take legal action in the High Court. His office said on Wednesday that there will be no comment as the matter has ‘nothing to do with them’.

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