Accused has charge amended from murder to manslaughter
A man accused of killing a three-year-old boy in Londonderry has had the charge against him amended from murder to manslaughter.
The amended charge was put to Liam Whoriskey (25) of Glenabbey Gardens in Derry when he appeared at the city Crown Court to which he pleaded not guilty.
Kayden McGuinness (3) was found dead in his bed at his home in Colmcille Court on the morning of September 17, 2017.
Whoriskey was quizzed by prosecution barrister Peter Irwin about how the toddler sustained a number of bruises to his face when both he (Whoriskey) and the boy's mother had said Kayden had no bruises when he went to bed.
Whoriskey told the court: "I can only account for what I did.
"I did not cause any bruises to Kayden McGuinness.
"I never assaulted Kayden McGuinness, I certainly never killed Kayden McGuinness."
Whoriskey repeated this denial a number of times in response to questions from the prosecution.
The defendant also refuted earlier evidence given by a neighbour who said Whoriskey had asked him not to phone the police. "Those words never came out of my mouth," he said.
Earlier evidence from an owner of a shop who said Whoriskey's behaviour towards Kayden while inside his shop on the day before he was found dead was "vile and disgusting" was also denied by the defendant.
The court heard how Kayden McGuinness had been put to bed around 6.30pm on September 16, 2017, by his mother Erin McLaughlin which was 30 minutes earlier than usual.
Whoriskey, who was babysitting Kayden and his younger sibling while Ms McLaughlin went out with friends, said he heard Kayden "talking to himself and laughing" for around 10 minutes but at no time did he check on the little boy after he had been put to bed.
Whoriskey told the court this was in accordance with Ms McLaughlin's instruction but that when he went into the boy's room the following morning he opened the door and fell to his knees when he saw him.
The jury of 11 people also heard evidence from the acting State Pathologist in the Republic of Ireland, Linda Mulligan, who had carried out a second post-mortem on the boy.
She said her findings were similar to those of her colleague in Northern Ireland Peter Ingram and that she found numerous bruises on and below the boy's scalp and "significant" bruises on the right side of his face but that there were no fractures to his skull.
Ms Mulligan said dating bruises was unreliable because they could occur anytime up to 24 or 48 hours after an injury. She also said it was not possible to say if a number of bruises were sustained all at the one time.
However, she said the bruises on Kayden's body were "not consistent with accidental damage".
The trial continues.