Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Child killer works yards from park

David Baird. Child killer.

This is sick child killer David Baird back on Ulster’s streets after brutally kicking to death a two-year-old tot. The depraved murderer works just yards from Ballymena’s People’s Park where mums take their kids for walks...oblivious to the evil lurking nearby.

Baird walked free from Maghaberry prison late last year after serving 16 years of a life sentence for the horrific drink and drugs-fuelled murder of tot Philip Carton.

The sickening crime, which sent waves of revulsion throughout Ulster, was described in court as an attack of “unremitting savagery”.

But evil Baird convinced the parole commissioners that he was suitable for release and was freed under the terms of a life licence.

Since then he has been involved a series of angry bust ups, including an bitter fall out with his best friend after the killer bedded his pal’s lover.

We tracked Baird to his new stomping ground in Ballymena where he has shacked up with a new partner and is working in the building trade.

Said one well-placed source: “Baird showed his face in Ballymoney once or twice, but he has been in the Ballymena area for months now, working as a joiner.

“But since Sunday Life exposed his violent past, the people he works with just don’t want anything to do with him any more and are giving him the cold-shoulder treatment.

“And he’s already been put on the streets by his best pal after he discovered Baird was having an affair with his girlfriend.

“He had been living with him at his home near Cullybacky, but when the pal found out about the fling he threw Baird out.”

It is understood that among those Baird has associated with since his release are a Co Antrim-based car thief and a child-beating drugs pusher from the Ballymoney area.

He was also involved in a blazing row with another convicted killer just yards from a Co Antrim Primary School.

Evil Baird (37) was confronted by Samuel ‘Buck’ Henry who complained that the child killer was working so close to Ballyclare Primary School in the weeks before the children’s term ended in June.

Baird had been working in premises nearby and Henry is believed to have alerted a member of staff at the school to him being nearby.

The confrontation resulted in Henry, who has spent more than two decades behind bars for killing his father-in-law, being sent back to Maghaberry Prison after Baird complained.

When Sunday Life confronted killer Baird last Thursday he told us he had nothing to say to the family of the child he brutally murdered.

“I have said everything I have to say to the people that matter, the Parole Commissioners,” he said.

“I’m really sorry for what I’ve done and I’m just trying to get on with my life.”

During his trial in May 1992, thug Baird told how he had kicked his girlfriend Alison Carton’s child to death after she had left him to look after the child in their Coleraine home one night in August the year before.

“I hadn’t really any reason, but I was tired, my relationship with Alison was not getting on, I had a few drinks taken and Phillip was crying,” said self-pitying Baird.

“I hit him in the stomach with the knuckle bent back.”

He then told the court how he went into the living room to leave down his drink and his cigarette, but when he came back into the hall the little boy was still crying.

“I grabbed him by the arm and kicked him. I let him go and he stumbled back a few steps.

“I kicked him again in the stomach and he fell on the stairs.”

The tot died in hospital from massive internal injuries sustained during a “systematic brutal assault”.

State pathologist Professor Jack Crane told the jury how the child’s liver was lacerated and his pancreas almost cut in two by the savage attack.

At one stage the trial was adjourned when a male juror FAINTED after being shown grim post mortem photographs of little Philip.

When he was behind bars he became a close pal of love-cheat strangler John Murdock — who served life for the brutal murder of his lover Norma Murdock (no relative). Baird was even meant to be best man when Murdock wed fellow killer Karen Carson in a macabre behind bars ceremony but was ditched by the creepy couple who have since split.

Sunday Life can reveal that since being given the boot from his pal’s home outside Ballymena, Baird now lives in a rented flat in the centre of the busy Co Antrim shopping town.

The builder who took Baird onto his books last week told how he has been instructed to alert the authorities if the killer steps out of line and he will be sent straight back to jail.

David Hamilton insisted the risk posed by Baird was managed and that he had been thoroughly briefed on his background before he took the child killer onto his books.

“Obviously, I know all about the guy.

“The guys round about him all know what

he has done, but then the wider community doesn’t know and I would probably find it difficult to send him out to places.

“People have an attitude to the whole thing,” said Mr Hamilton.

“He’s worked for us for a good while and I’ve got nothing but good to say for him. He gets on with his day’s work, he’s trying to re-establish his life and get on with it.

“He’s very up front and open.

“Three different sources rang me to ask if I would consider this guy, it came from the church, from within the prison and a third source.

“I would be quite careful like all employers, I took all the information I could get, I brought him in and worked him through a system where I could monitor him quite closely with people who knew his background and were willing to work with him.

“If he stepped out of line in any way, even to use bad language, I rung them (authorities) and they just put him straight back inside.

“He’s in a very, very strict regime. I have been given very precise guidance on it (risk management). I was very well briefed.

“They said to me they would not be letting him out unless they had confidence in him.

“I am coming from a Christian point of view, you give a guy a second chance.

“He has rehabilitated, he has put that behind him.”

“He has tried hard.

“The guys he is working with, I have made them away of where he is coming from and some of them have commented to me and a couple of guys have objected to working with him.

“I said to them that I respect their wish and they will not be on the same sites.”

He added: “If there’s a big splash in the paper I am probably going to have to dismiss him. Image is so important today and I can’t afford negative image.”

When Baird had his first taste of freedom — when prison chiefs let him out to celebrate Christmas a number of years ago — it sparked an angry reaction from his victim’s relatives.

The killer had been let back out and was practically on their doorstep WITHOUT the Prison Service alerting them that he had been granted temporary release.

The Prison Service later apologised to the family for the gaffe.

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