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cold case Garda issue new appeal for information about baby murdered in the Dalkey House of Horrors case

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Gardai at the house in Dalkey where it is believed the newborn baby of Cynthia Owens (inset) was violently killed

Gardai at the house in Dalkey where it is believed the newborn baby of Cynthia Owens (inset) was violently killed

Collins Dublin, Colin Keegan

Gardai at the house in Dalkey where it is believed the newborn baby of Cynthia Owens (inset) was violently killed

Gardai today issued an appeal for help in solving the cold case murder of a newborn baby linked to the Dalkey House of Horrors probe.

A senior officer for the first time also named the child as Noleen Murphy, in a special conference confirming gardai believe she was born to sex abuse victim Cynthia Owen when she was just 11 years old.

A coroner previously found Cynthia was the mother of the child who was violently killed in the family home in Dalkey. That court heard allegations that Cynthia's mother Josephine stabbed the baby to death with knitting needles to cover up abuse.

Superintendent Martin Creighton said that officers are now looking for help from the public and from those who may have come forward previously for information around the circumstances of Noleen Murphy’s death.

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

"Over the years since 1973 baby Noleen’s murder and related matters have been the subject of sustained garda investigation. However, all available lines of inquiries have now been exhausted,” Superintendent Creighton said.

“It remains the case that nobody has yet been charged with baby Noleen’s murder.


"It is our belief that someone has information that could be of vital assistance to the investigation team here in Dun Laoghaire and I’m appealing for them to come forward.

"You may ask why the appeal is being held now, 47 years after baby Noleen’s murder took place?

"In the first instance baby Noleen and her mother Cynthia deserve justice. Maybe someone with an important piece of information that didn’t come forward at the time, but now with passage of time and life experience feels that they may be ready to come forward now. I want to reach out to that person.”

The same coroner’s court that ruled that baby Noleen was the child of Cynthia also heard claims that her mother Josephine stabbed the newborn to death before dumping her in order to cover up child abuse in the family home.

Baby Noleen Murphy was discovered in a laneway, known locally as Lee’s Lane, in a plastic bag along with a knitting needle at 6.45pm on April 4th 1973 by schoolboys.

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The laneway in Dun Laoghaire where an unidentified infant was found 47 years ago

The laneway in Dun Laoghaire where an unidentified infant was found 47 years ago

The laneway in Dun Laoghaire where an unidentified infant was found 47 years ago

She was buried at an infant's plot at Glasnevin Cemetery and her murder file shelved unsolved weeks later.

Today, gardai said they want to solve the case once and for all and appealed for help from the public to unravel the mystery.

The murder of Noleen occurred 10 years before the Kerry baby was found washed up on a Caherciveen beach and has been marred by similar failures in the original investigation as that murder probe.

Apart from a Garda Patrol appeal at the time of the murder, no other appeal has ever been made about the case, until today.

In 1995, twenty-two years after the baby was found, Sindy Murphy, now Cynthia Owen, came forward to state that she was the mother of the child. She told detectives that she had been raped by her father Peter Murphy Snr and others in her family home in Dalkey, where a sickening catalogue of abuse was alleged.

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Peter Murphy Snr and his wife Joesphine pictured at their Dalkey home

Peter Murphy Snr and his wife Joesphine pictured at their Dalkey home

Peter Murphy Snr and his wife Joesphine pictured at their Dalkey home

At that point, her brother Martin had killed himself in the house at Whyte’s Villas and a younger sister, Theresa, had confided in her that she and others had also been abused.

In 2005 her brother Michael Murphy’s remains were found in Killiney three years after he had gone missing and that same year Theresa died by suicide leaving a long note about vile sexual abuse she and her brother had suffered.

Cynthia returned to Ireland and gave further statements, this time alleging her parents had hired children out to a local paedophile ring and naming, amongst others, three former gardai.

She also claimed she gave birth to a second baby, John, two years after Noleen was born and that he was buried in the garden of the house.

An excavation at the garden in Dalkey carried out by gardai yielded no results and in 2006 the DPP stated there would be no prosecutions surrounding Noleen’s death.

That same year Cynthia’s mother Josephine Murphy died.

In 2007, the jury at an inquest into Noleen’s death unanimously found that she was the child of Cynthia Owen, formerly Sindy Murphy, and that she died at the family’s former home in Whyte's Villas in Dalkey.

They ruled that her cause of death was hemorrhage due to stab wounds but returned an open verdict in relation to the cause of death under instruction from the Coroner.

During the inquest Cynthia gave evidence detailing the birth of Noleen when she was 11.

She told the court that she had no idea she was pregnant until she returned home from school one day complaining of pains in her stomach.


She said her mother told her she was going to have a baby.

She said she gave birth to the child in an upstairs room and that her mother snatched her and stabbed her to death and then walked to Dun Laoghaire and dumped the body.

The inquest heard about a catalogue of errors by original investigating Gardai including that the murder probe lasted just six weeks and that no blood samples were taken from Noleen or any forensics from the crime scene.

Amongst exhibits that remain missing are the plastic bag the baby way in, a knitting needle, newspapers and a makeshift sanitary towel which Cynthia would later tell officers was torn from a bedsheet at the house.

In 2009, Peter Murphy Snr died as investigations, case reviews and other challenges continued.

Meanwhile, gardai say that they have sent six files to the DPP and each has been returned for no prosecution.

The first two relating to Peter Murphy Snr and others members of the Murphy family were returned in 1995, a third in 2003. Two other three files relating to allegations of the paedophile ring were returned in 2006, 2007 and 2014.

Anyone with information should contact Dun Laoghaire Garda Station on 01-6665000 and anyone wanted to provide information confidentially should call the Garda Confidential Line on 1800666111.


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