Kayden McGuinness murder trial hears evidence from accused's ex-partner

Liam Whoriskey denies murdering Kayden McGuinness.
Liam Whoriskey denies murdering Kayden McGuinness.

A former partner of a man who is alleged to have murdered a three years old boy just over two years ago, has told a murder trial at Derry Crown Court that the defendant, Liam Whoriskey, assaulted her several times during their three year long relationship.

On the ninth day of the trial the witness, Toni Connor, also told the jury she would never leave her son alone with the defendant, who is the child's father.

The defendant, Liam Whoriskey, 25, a waiter from Glenabbey Gardens in Derry denies murdering his then fiancée's three years old son Kayden McGuinness in the boy's family home at Columbcille Court in the Bogside between September 16 and September 17, 2017.

The defendant, who was living at the address with the child's mother Erin McLaughlin, also denies two charges of child cruelty and one charge of failing to protect Kayden.

The jurors have previously been told that Kayden sustained fifteen blunt trauma injuries to his scalp which caused a swelling of his brain leading to his death.

In her evidence Ms. Connor said her relationship with the defendant started, when they were both aged eighteen, in January 2012.

Three months later she became pregnant with their child, a boy, who was born in November 2012. She said both she and the defendant lived with their respective parents.

In July 2013, when both she and the defendant had been drinking, the witness said they had an argument during which the defendant pinned her to a wall and twisted her arms up her back.

She said the defendant would normally become aggressive when he had three or four drinks or more, the court was told. Ms. Connor said as a result of the alleged incident her brother put the defendant out of the house.

The prosecution witness said when she went out with friends, she never left her son alone with the defendant and normally got her sister or a friend to stay with her son and the defendant. She told the court she "never felt comfortable" leaving her son alone with the defendant.

The court heard that on another occasion when she'd been out socialising, she returned home and told the defendant that she had met another of his previous girlfriends in a bar and that she had been giving her "dirty looks".

Ms. Connor told the jury that the defendant reacted by again pinning her to a wall and by throwing glasses about the room.

She alleged that during some of their arguments the defendant went over to their son and shouted into his face "your mum's a slag, she's a rat" and said that the defendant swore at their son if he was making noise while the defendant was watching television.

Cross examined by defence barrister Ciaran Mallon Q.C., Ms. Connor agreed that the defendant had never used violence towards their son. Mr. Mallon said the social services investigated the witness's allegations.

"They concluded your allegations had no substance, they closed the file", he put it to the witness.

Ms. Connor agreed that she had not made a statement to the police about her allegations. The defence barrister said the defendant would deny the witness's allegations to which Ms. Connor replied "he's lying". The witness also denied Mr. Mallon's assertion that she was "trying to spite Liam Whoriskey".

The trial continues.