Woman whose testimony sent Eamon Cooke to prison: “My fear lifted the day he died”

Woman abused by Cooke as child says paedophile "had it in him" to kill

Woman whose testimony sent Eamon Cooke to prison: “My fear lifted the day he died”

Cooke is now suspect in disappearance of Dublin schoolboy Philip Cairns

Warning: This article contains details of sexual abuse that some readers may find upsetting.

A woman who was abused by convicted paedophile Eamon Cooke has encouraged other victims to come forward.

Sophia (not her real name) testified at the 2007 trial that led to Cooke being sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The former pirate radio DJ is now suspected of killing Philip Cairns, the missing Dublin schoolboy who disappeared in 1986.

In an interview on Newstalk’s Lunchtime programme, Sophia said Cooke began abusing her at the age of seven.

The paedophile gradually groomed her over the following three years, she recalled.

Sophia said local children played in his garage, which contained several telephones and TV screens.

Cooke encouraged the children to visit his home and filmed them dancing in his garden, she said.

Sophia told the programme that Cooke “liked to pair children up” before abusing them.

“As the abuse went on and become worse, he would show me porn,” she said.

“By the age of nine, he was taking me naked into his bed, along with another victim.”

The abuse stopped when she was 10, following a mutiny of staff at his radio station.

She told her parents about her ordeal when she turned 18 and gave a statement to gardaí. However, authorities took no action, she said.

“I then had to undergo three years of intimidation from Cooke,” she recalled.

On one occasion, he turned up to the shop where she was working and told her he would “get” her.

At 21, after hearing his station was launching a childline, she said got “very drunk and angry”.

She decided to go to his home in the middle of the night and confront him, in an encounter that ended up in her being brought to court.

Gardaí asked her to make another statement in 2000, which led to her giving evidence at Cooke’s first trial in 2003. He was released in 2006 following the quashing of his conviction. 

“It was terrifying. This was not someone who was going to come out and leave children alone,” she said.

Sophia told Newstalk that his retrial in 2007 gave her no sense of relief. "I just felt glad he was back behind bars."

She said Cooke was the “most vile, evil, violent, psychotic individual” she had ever met.

“He had no conscience. I don’t know if he killed Philip Cairns but he certainly had it in him.”

When he died earlier this month, she said, her fear lifted.

“For me, that’s the liberation. I didn't know what life is like without fear.”

If you or anyone you know has been affected by child sexual abuse, you can contact the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre on their National 24-Hour Helpline - 1800 77 8888.