IT is sometimes difficult for the general public to imagine the horror that lies behind sex offenders such as Eamon Cooke.
Sex offenders fall in to various categories, each with their own special brand of terror. Adult sex offenders such as Larry Murphy tend to fall into that special brand of psychopathic category that can unleash merciless violence on their unfortunate victim. Thankfully, as their victims will be adult, there is some possibility of escape – as Murphy found out to his own dismay.
Criminologist John O’Keeffe profiles Eamon Cooke, 'Ireland’s Jimmy Savile'.
THOSE that abuse pre-pubescent children are strictly categorised as paedophiles. They will often speak of being in love with the child. They did not abuse, they state, but have a “relationship” with them, which was not only welcomed but also encouraged by the child. In the fantasy world of paedophiles such as Cooke, normal adults simply do not understand the “special” connection they have with such children.
An equally worrying category is that of haebophiles, who will abuse children during or just after puberty. Young girls can at this stage of their emotional and sexual development be receptive to the advances of the middle-aged sexual predator such as Cooke, who will have presented themselves in a wholly different light.
Cooke was a sexual predator and then some as he was one of the smaller categories of child abuser who spanned both deviancies – in other words he offended against both pre- and post-pubescent children. Furthermore, he abused both girls and boys. To Cooke no child was too young, too old, or of the incorrect gender. Cooke was the most savage of all the beasts in the child-abusing jungle.
The children whom Cook abused – in the case of Philip Cairns, whom he may have also murdered – will not have a nuanced view of adult behaviours. This was Ireland in the '70s, '80s and '90s – an Ireland where emigration and incessant depressive national navel-gazing was the norm. Enter stage left a charismatic and seemingly important and fun man who could introduce them to the world of “illegal” broadcast media and a range of apparently worthwhile people.
The fact that Cooke may have been filthy and prone to outbursts were nothing beside the “treats” that he would bestow on all children who came to him. A couple of pounds here, a bit of flattery there, an understanding nod that their parents just didn’t understand them. In no time the stage had been set for Cooke’s grooming process to begin proper.
Cooke the psychopath
COOKE was not, however, a “lover” of children in any sense. Although his abuse spanned all age groups and abuse his psychological typology will be that of the child rapist – he was therefore as unpredictable in his sexual and physical abuse as he was “engaging”. This goes to the heart of how he operated – or his modus. The “showboater” one minute who could charm both children and adults alike, the child sex abuser the next. He may have presented as a disheveled filthy middle-aged man but like all true psychopaths he operated like a magician and many would not have seen where the real tricks were going on. In other words his charm, charisma, control and apparent influence distracted from the real truth – here was one of God’s lowest creatures – a man with no moral compass, no remorse and zero empathy for the tragedy he heaped on many children’s lives.
Cooke’s grooming – the car
NEVER underestimate the draw of a flash car to a child. Multiple child sex offender Jimmy Savile drove a Rolls Royce. Paedophile DJ Jonathan King drove a €2.7m Bugatti. Eamon Cooke drove a Jaguar – a car as rare as hen’s teeth in Ireland 25 years ago. This is the part of the grooming process for already vulnerable, bored and uninspired youth. Few men owned a marquee car and even fewer children could imagine being proximate to one, let alone being allowed to sit in one.
The Jaguar then became Cooke’s calling card around Dublin. Having access to Garda communication, he would appear at crime scenes before the gardai – the Jaguar became a moving metaphor for his utter evil.
Philip Cairns and Cooke
THE mother of Philip Cairns has stated that her son never spoke of Cooke or of even knowing him, which has led some to believe that Cooke may not after all have been involved in his disappearance or murder. It would have been highly unusual for her son to so do. Children typically do not involve their parents in conversations about their friends and less so if they have made adult “friends.” It is suggested that the reasons for this is twofold. Firstly children are by their very nature reticent to discuss anything of substance with their parents when Philip’s age for instance – like children over the generations, they live in the moment and friendships come and go.
Another issue with a predator like Cooke was that he would almost certainly have issued veiled threats to all children who came to his personal attention of an overt – or more likely – a covert nature. Philip Cairn’s would have been fascinated and repelled by Cooke in equal measure, as will many of his victims. It is the fake charisma of sexual deviants such as Cooke that ensure little or no reporting may ever occur of their behaviours.