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Home / News / Former garda in Kerry Babies case Gerry O’Carroll dies

Former garda in Kerry Babies case Gerry O’Carroll dies

Retired garda Gerry O’Carroll, a former member of the unit known as the Murder Squad, has died in Co Kerry.

A former detective inspector and native of Listowel, Mr O’Carroll was involved in dozens of investigations into serious crime, many of them high profile.

Mr O’Carroll, who lived in Listowel, was also a writer and frequently contributed to broadcast discussions.

He died at University Hospital Kerry in Tralee after a short illness. He was in his early 80s. Details of his funeral are due to be announced later.

Mr O’Carroll was part of the 1984 inquiry into what became known as the Kerry Babies case.

For decades, he persisted in his stance that Joanne Hayes from Abbeydorney was the mother of two babies: her own baby, Shane, and another baby, later named John, who was murdered and whose body was found on a beach in Cathair Saidhbhín in south Kerry in 1984.

Following the emergence of DNA evidence, Mr O’Carroll finally accepted that Ms Hayes could not have been the mother of Baby John.

Ms Hayes and members of her family had been arrested during the investigation into the discovery of Baby John’s body.

The then-25-year-old lived almost 75km from where Baby John’s body was found.

Ms Hayes had recently given birth to her own baby, Shane, who was stillborn or died soon after birth from natural causes and was buried on her farm.

During her arrest, Ms Hayes had begged gardaí to search her farm for the body of her own baby, Shane, but they refused.

On the day she was charged with Baby John’s murder, the body of her own baby, Shane, was found and blood tests proved she was his mother, as she had said.

While being questioned by gardaí, Ms Hayes and her family had given statements that all implicated her in the murder of Baby John.

Even when her own baby’s body was found, the murder charge was still not dropped until the Director of Public Prosecutions wrote to gardaí saying they could not possibly run a prosecution on the evidence and all charges should be withdrawn.

In January 2018, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar apologised on behalf of the State to Ms Hayes for what she suffered during the investigation into the Kerry Babies case.

Ms Hayes’ solicitor Patrick Mann confirmed that she had also received a written apology from gardaí and acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin rang to reiterate it in person.

The apology formed part of a settlement of a case for damages brought by Ms Hayes, her sister Kathleen and brothers Michael and Edmund following their arrest by gardaí in May, 1984.

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