Toddler murder trial told: 3-year-old repeatedly assaulted

Derry Courthouse at Bishop Street.
Derry Courthouse at Bishop Street.

Derry Crown Court has been told that a 3-year-old child found dead in bed had been repeatedly assaulted.

Before the court is Liam Whoriskey (25), of Glenabbey Gardens in Derry, who is charged with the murder of Kayden McGuinness on dates between September 16 and 17, 2017.

Opening the case to the jury of seven men and five women, prosecutor Peter Irvine Q.C. told them they had to deal with the case coldly, objectively and without emotions.

Mr. Irvine said that, on the night of September 16, 2017, Kayden McGuinness’s mother, Erin McLaughlin, went out with family members to visit their father. She left Kayden and her five month old daughter in the care of the defendant who had been living with her for eight months. He said Ms. McLaughlin stayed overnight with friends and returned home the next morning after she’d received a phone call about what had happened to her son.

Mr. Irvine said that, when the defendant woke up just before 10 a.m. on September 17, he went into Kayden’s bedroom where he found the child laying on his back with his face turned towards a wall. He felt Kayden and the boy was cold and he could not locate a pulse. The defendant ran downstairs to a neighbour’s flat and called the police.

Officers and paramedics arrived ten minutes later at Kayden’s family home at 2b Colmcille Court. They found Kayden dead in his bed. There was foam coming from his mouth and there was multiple facial bruising and a cut to his right ear lobe. The paramedics were unable to find a pulse. The defendant said to one of the police officers, “how do I tell his mother?”

The prosecutor said the flat was in a state of disarray. There was an overturned chair in the living room, the bath was filled with dirty water, doors had been damaged and a knife was on the floor.

Mr. Irvine said a post mortem was carried out on September 20. It revealed multiple injuries and multiple bruising. He said there were at least fifteen bruises to Kayden’s scalp which had been caused by blunt force trauma to the head which resulted in bleeding to the outside of the brain and a swollen brain.

The prosecutor said death was not immediate and that the injuries resulted from the child having been repeatedly assaulted. He said one of Kayden’s left ribs had also been fractured.

Mr. Irvine said the day before Kayden’s death, the defendant had taken him shopping in the city centre. He said CCTV footage showed the defendant dragging Kayden by his hood and wrist. A shop assistant also heard the defendant acting in an aggressive manner towards Kayden and swearing at the boy. The defendant also told a staff member in the Cash Generator shop, “I am never taking that effing wain out again because he’s too hard to handle”.

The defendant was arrested and interviewed by the police. In his first interview, he told the officers that Kayden’s mother had squeezed Kayden’s chest, hit him hard and shaken him after he’d swallowed a 2p coin.

He told the police that Kayden, during the shopping trip, had thrown a tantrum because the defendant wouldn’t buy the child a Kinder egg and he said it was not uncommon for Kayden to injure himself during tantrums but he said Kayden had never been admitted to hospital for such injuries before.

The defendant was interviewed again on June 11 of last year. He told the police Kayden was a hyperactive child who frequently hurt himself by running into a sofa or by jumping off the windowsill in his home.

During a third interview, the defendant accepted there were no injuries to Kayden when he put him to bed the night before the child was found dead.

The trial continues.