| 9.5°C Belfast

Gardai appeal for information over 1973 murder of baby Noleen

The body of newborn Noleen Murphy was found in a car park at the end of a laneway in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, 47 years ago.

Close

Detective Superintendent Martin Crieghton launchedan appeal for information relating to the murder of a baby girl 47 years ago (Michelle Devane/PA)

Detective Superintendent Martin Crieghton launchedan appeal for information relating to the murder of a baby girl 47 years ago (Michelle Devane/PA)

Detective Superintendent Martin Crieghton launchedan appeal for information relating to the murder of a baby girl 47 years ago (Michelle Devane/PA)

Gardai have issued an appeal to the public for information on the murder 47 years ago of a baby girl who suffered a “violent death” and “deserves justice”.

The body of newborn Noleen Murphy was found in a car park at the end of a laneway in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, on April 4 1973.

She had been stabbed more than 40 times.

Her mother, Cynthia Owen, also urged anyone with information to come forward.

Nobody has ever been brought to justice for the murder.

An inquest into the baby’s death was held at Dublin Coroner’s Court in April 2007.

During the course of the hearing, Ms Owen (nee Murphy) was formally identified by the coroner as the baby’s mother, and the baby was named Noleen by Ms Owen at the inquest.

Ms Owen gave birth to her daughter at the age of 11.

Close

Cynthia Owen leaves Dublin County Coroner’s Court after the 2007 inquest into the death of her newborn daughter, Noleen Murphy (Julien Behal/PA)

Cynthia Owen leaves Dublin County Coroner’s Court after the 2007 inquest into the death of her newborn daughter, Noleen Murphy (Julien Behal/PA)

PA

Cynthia Owen leaves Dublin County Coroner’s Court after the 2007 inquest into the death of her newborn daughter, Noleen Murphy (Julien Behal/PA)

Detective Superintendent Martin Creighton said the baby’s remains were discovered on April 4 1973 in the car park of what was formerly Lee’s Furniture, between Northumberland Avenue and Anglesea Lane, parallel to George’s Street in Dun Laoghaire town centre.

He said on Thursday: “We are here today to appeal for information into the death of baby Noleen, who suffered a violent death within 24 hours of birth.

“It remains the case that no-one has yet been charged with baby Noleen’s murder.

“It’s our belief that somebody, somewhere out there, has information that could be of vital assistance to the investigation team here in Dun Laoghaire surrounding baby Noleen’s murder and I’m appealing for those persons to come forward.”

Mr Creighton said a post-mortem examination at the time determined that the baby had suffered “a violent death” and a murder investigation was launched.

“Appeals for information via the media formed part of the investigation,” he said. “However, no suspect of the killing of the baby was identified at the time.”

Close

Detective Superintendent Martin Creighton speaks to the media outside Dun Laoghaire garda station (Michelle Devane/PA)

Detective Superintendent Martin Creighton speaks to the media outside Dun Laoghaire garda station (Michelle Devane/PA)

PA

Detective Superintendent Martin Creighton speaks to the media outside Dun Laoghaire garda station (Michelle Devane/PA)

Mr Creighton said the case has been a matter of “sustained garda investigation” throughout the years but “all available lines of inquiry have now been exhausted”.

He said the appeal is being made after so long because the baby and her mother “deserve justice”.

“The passage of time is a major factor in this appeal,” Mr Creighton said.

“There may be someone with that important piece of information that didn’t come forward at the time, but who now, with a change of circumstances, passage of time, feels they may be ready to come forward.

“If you are that person, I would appeal to you to reach out and make contact with the investigation team here at Dun Laoghaire.”

Sometimes people are reluctant to come forward and to contact authorities, sometimes people don’t want to talk to gardai for whatever reasons. But, at the end of the day, that is what they should doGerry Dunne, solicitor for Cynthia Owen, mother of baby Noleen

Ms Owen’s solicitor, Gerry Dunne, said his client had been pressing for a public appeal for a long time and she was “very happy” that the appeal was now being made.

Mr Dunne said: “Today is about Noleen. Today is about a baby who was murdered and dumped in a laneway close to where we stand now and that baby has never got justice.”

He added: “What Cynthia would simply say to anybody who has information is that they should come forward.

“Sometimes people are reluctant to come forward and to contact authorities, sometimes people don’t want to talk to gardai for whatever reasons. But, at the end of the day, that is what they should do.”

He went on: “Anyone as a parent should think about it. If your daughter, son or child was tragically murdered and dumped in a laneway, I think all of us as parents would like to see justice for our child in those circumstances.”

Mr Dunne added that even though this is the first appeal being made about the case, it could also be the last, given the length of time that has passed.

PA