New book examines case of missing Southside schoolboy

A Dublin author hopes her newly published book will shed light on the mystery disappearance of a Southside schoolboy 35 years ago.

The Boy Who Never Came Home, by author Emma McMenamy, examines the case of Philip Cairns, a 13-year-old from Rathfarnham who went missing without a trace in 1986.

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“For years I wanted to write an in-depth book about Philip’s disappearance, in order to find out as much about the case as possible,” Emma (pictured above) tells Southside People.

“Then last year during lockdown I decided there was no time like the present, so I finally got around to writing it.

“I’ve always wanted to do the story justice and with this book I feel I have.

“There is so much public interest in Philip’s disappearance, there are people who weren’t even alive at the time who have an interest in it.

“In this book I’ve covered every angle, thoroughly examined the Gardaí investigation and some of the theories of the detectives who were involved in the search.”

Emma, who has covered the story of Philip’s disappearance many times over the past few years through her work as a journalist with the Irish Sunday Mirror, hopes her book will lead to the harrowing mystery being solved.

On the afternoon of October 23 1986, Philip left his home in Ballyroan to return to school.

When he failed to arrive, he was reported missing and has never been seen since.

Even though his schoolbag was found six days after his disappearance in an alley close to his home, the case led to a dead-end for police.

“Back in 1986 the road in Ballyroan would have been extremely busy, for nobody to see him after he left his house is crazy,” Emma says.

“There would’ve been around 50/60 cars on that road at that particular time, this was pre the M50.

“There was one person who was travelling to the airport from Rathfarnham that afternoon who says he was held up by a wine-coloured car which was stopped in traffic because a young boy was leaning in to speak to the driver through the car window.

“This person took a note of the registration of the wine-coloured car but unfortunately the piece of paper it was written on got thrown out.”

The person driving the wine-coloured car fitted the description of the only named suspect in the disappearance, Eamon Cooke, a prolific paedophile and pirate radio DJ dubbed Ireland’s Jimmy Savile.

“I managed to get hold of some documents Cooke wrote 15 years after Philip’s disappearance,” Emma says.

“He had reported suspicious tyre tracks he noticed close to land he owned in Stepaside, two days after the disappearance.

“In the statement, which was written by Cooke in 2001, he wrote that he had reported the marks to gardai in Rathfarnham at the time but it was never followed up.

“Cooke was antagonistic, he liked to annoy the Guards, new revelations I uncovered also potentially connect him further to the disappearance.

“I spoke with the world-renowned forensic psychologist Dr Julian Boon, who has worked on several high-profile murder cases including that of serial killer Harold Shipman, he gives his thoughts on what he believes happened Philip.

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“I also spoke with former Dectective Sergeant Tom Doyle (pictured above) who headed the case from 1998 to 2016 and he shares his insights on the case for the first time.

“I really hope this book helps lead to a breakthrough in the case.

“Philip’s family have never given up searching for him.

“They are not bitter, his mother Alice even forgives the person responsible for her son’s disappearance.

“They just want to recover his body so they can have a grave to visit.”

The Boy Who Never Came Home, by Emma McMenamy is out now.

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