Belfast Telegraph

Garda apology over Baby John death investigation

Viable DNA profile shows Joanne Hayes not the infant’s mother

Gardai have apologised to Joanne Hayes for the pain and stress their investigation into the death of “Baby John” caused her.

The infant’s lifeless body was found with multiple injuries in a bag on White Strand Beach in Caherciveen, Co Kerry, in 1984. Charges against Ms Hayes were dropped.

Superintendent Flor Murphy said a viable DNA profile has been obtained from samples taken from Baby John in the course of the original investigation.

“This sample has been examined and compared, and as a result of this analysis, we can conclusively state that Ms Joanne Hayes is not the mother of Baby John.”

The Acting Garda Commissioner has written to and spoken to Ms Hayes to formally apologise to her for the conduct of the original investigation.

Supt Murphy added: “It is a matter of significant regret for An Garda Siochana that it has taken such a long time for it to be confirmed that Ms Hayes is not the mother of Baby John.

“On behalf of An Garda Siochana, I would like to sincerely apologise to Ms Hayes for that, as well as the awful stress and pain she has been put through as a result of the original investigation into this matter, which fell well short of the required standards.”

The Garda investigation led to the Kerry Babies Tribunal.

It was established to look into the facts and circumstances leading to the pressing of criminal charges against Ms Hayes in connection with the death of Baby John and the subsequent withdrawal of those charges.

Supt Murphy said: “The Tribunal headed by Mr Justice Kevin Lynch into that investigation rightly criticised many aspects of that investigation. For those failings, I apologise.”

He added: “It is accepted that the original investigation fell short of what was required and expected of a professional police service, but I want to reassure the public that this will be a thorough and professional investigation.

“While this investigation team cannot change what happened in the past, we can help find the answers into what happened to Baby John and are determined to do so.”

He appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

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