NewsCrime Desk

Gardai believe dead paedo Cooke may have killed missing schoolboy

Philip Cairns
Philip Cairns

After 30 years gardai believe they may have solved one of Ireland's longest running missing children cases.

Following a new witness stepping forward, gardai now believe that a convicted paedophile named Eamon 'Captain' Cooke may have killed the schoolboy.

Cooke (79), a DJ and pirate radio operator, died earlier this month. understands a woman approached gardai in May and named Cooke as the killer of the Rathfarnham schoolboy. Philip was just 13 when he disappeared without a trace on October 23rd in 1986.

"A person came forward in May. It took an awful lot of courage for this person to come forward," a source said.

"They nominated Cooke as a suspect. This case was still under active investigation when Cooke died.

"It is still under active investigation now."

A number of aspects to the woman's story have been corroborated already - it's believed Cooke verified some of the information.

There are two main aspects that gardai are now looking to corroborate.

One aspect relates to Philip's schoolbag and the DNA that is on it.

That bag has been in storage in Rathfarnham Garda Station since his disappearance.

Philip Cairns was just 13 when he disappeared without a trace on October 23rd, 1986 while walking back to Colaiste Eanna school where he had been a first-year student for just over a month. His schoolbag was found dumped in a laneway close to his home some six days later.

The woman came forward to gardai in Terenure last month.

She told gardai that she had seen Cooke in his radio studios with the schoolboy in and around the time he disappeared.

Gardai are believed to be treating the woman's story as credible.

On foot of this information, they spoke to Cooke (below) shortly before his death.

It's believed Cooke told gardai he had met the schoolboy.

It is not known if he verified other aspects of the woman's story.