Mother of murdered Baby John could solve Kerry Babies mystery

AN APPEAL has been launched that could finally help crack one of Ireland’s longest unsolved murder mysteries.
Anybody associated with the brutal death of one of two babies in the infamous 1980s ‘Kerry Babies‘ case has been urged to come forward. The appeal follows other appeals that have attempted to help solve the case ‘once and for all’.

Kerry Babies Joanne Hayes with Patrick Mann
Joanne Hayes arriving for the Tribunal hearings with her lawyer, Patrick Mann, 1984. Copyright: RTE Stills Library.

These appeals, mostly made on the 30th anniversary of the Kerry Babies case, have centred round the use of DNA from the possible exhumation of one of the babies’ bodies.
Indeed, recent reporting of this appeal has mistakenly centred on those same appeals – which were made last year. However, this latest appeal is the first time such a direct appeal has been made to anybody actually associated with the brutal death of one of the babies to come forward since charges in connection with that death were withdrawn against a Kerry woman accused of his murder in 1984. It has also been made just weeks away from the release of documents from the National Archives.
What gardai described as her ‘unnamed male infant’ was found on White Strand in Cahirciveen, Co Kerry on April 14 that year.
Later baptised ‘John’ by an undertaker before his lonely burial, his neck had been broken and he had been stabbed repeatedly in the heart.
Detectives at the time were convinced Ms Hayes was both his mother and his murderer and charged her accordingly.
This was partly because she had given birth to a baby around the same time Baby John was found but there had been doubts about what had subsequently happened to her baby.
The charges were later withdrawn after the baby she gave birth to but which had a different blood type to Baby John was found on her parents’ farm at Abbeydorney, some 70km away from Cahirciveen.
The case ended up a watershed moment in Irish history as it shed light on both questionable garda investigation and interview tactics at the time along with Ireland’s attitude to unmarried mothers.

Kerry Babies Tribunal
A tribunal was subsequently set up to examine garda handling of the case but ended up more of a probe into Ms Hayes’ perceived morals by an all-male panel of inquisitors.
Both Baby John’s true identity and the person who actually killed him has been a mystery ever since.
So too is the identity of the person who has repeatedly attacked his secluded grave in the cemetery on Waterville Road, Cahirciveen.
The last main attack was in 2004, when someone smashed Baby John’s black marble gravestone with a sledge hammer.
Ms Hayes’ long-serving lawyer Patrick Mann has urged anybody who knows anything to come forward and solve the mystery once and for all.
‘It has been just over 30 years now and we are all still none-the-wiser,’ he said. Continue reading Mother of murdered Baby John could solve Kerry Babies mystery