Child killer Karen Harrington is allowed to enjoy art classes with prisoners who are deemed as not being a threat to her, we can reveal.
Sources have confirmed to us that Harrington (38), who brutally murdered little tot Santina Cauley (2), is in protective custody – after prison bosses identified several prisoners who could pose a threat to her.
It is understood that following a risk assessment, a number of prisoners inside Limerick Prison were identified as being at risk of attacking Harrington due to the fact that she is a child killer.
READ MORE: Santina Cawley’s killer could spend years in jail lockdown over risk of attacks by fellow inmates
However, although Harrington is isolated from the general prison population, it is understood that she can mix with prisoners who are not deemed to be a threat to her during classes she will be allowed to attend in Limerick Prison.
It is understood the remorseless killer is now able to attend a weekly art class, work training courses and other educational activities, where she will be closely supervised by prison staff.
The change comes after the killer was allowed out of mandatory five-day Covid-19 isolation last week – and ten days on since she was convicted of the July 2019 killing of Santina.
However sources say there remains an ongoing concern for the killer’s safety behind bars – and it is believed she may have to remain in protective custody for some time.
“Karen Harrington is a high-risk prisoner and a close eye will have to be kept on her,” a source said.
“A risk assessment was done, and it’s been determined that a number of prisoners could potentially be a threat to her at this time.
“So for her own safety, she is on protection. But that does not mean she won’t come into contact with some prisoners who are of no threat to her, while engaging with prison services.”
Sources say prison bosses are also not considering moving Harrington to the Dochas Prison in Dublin at this time – as it’s not believed the threat to her would be any lesser there.
“She will be in this protective situation for a while until things simmer down,” a source said.
The development comes after Santina’s heartbroken father Michael exclusively spoke to this paper – saying he believes his former partner Karen should be given the death penalty.
“We wouldn’t be able to live in the same world as her if she got out.
“She has to die in jail,” Michael said.
“This should never happen again to any child in Ireland.
“I would like if the death penalty could be brought back to Ireland for circumstances like this. I would prefer if that was the law,” he said.
“That is my wish for her.”
Michael said he not only wishes he could take back that horrific night in July 2019 – but also his ever meeting and forming a relationship with the woman who murdered his child.
“I’m haunted by the horrors of it. I wish I could pull back time and never meet Karen in the first place,” Michael said.
Just what he went through on that night and the days that followed is still too painful for Michael – and he says he will be dealing with that grief for years to come.
“She was such a beautiful child. I loved her so much. It breaks my heart that she’s gone,” he said.
“I remember her every day like it was yesterday. It’s hard to move on from it but I do have to learn how to live with it, as hard as it is,” he said.
Meanwhile Santina’s mother Bridget O’Donoghue spoke about her heartache following the verdict last week.
In an interview with Virgin Media news, Bridget said she still had a burning question for Harrington.
“Why did she kill my baby. What did she do to her?
“She’s only two. She’s only a baby like. What did she do? Nothing at all,” she said.
Bridget also spoke about how she arrived at hospital and was offered an opportunity to hold her daughter to say goodbye.
“I had to go into that room and they said do you want to hold her. I said,’ ‘So what do I want to what? Of course I want to hold her.’
“I held her and I tried to rub her back because she was cold. I was trying to warm her up.
“I didn’t want to believe she was dead,” she said.
“ All I wanted to do was take her home.”
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