Belfast Telegraph

Elderly woman found guilty of stealing from disabled friend is mum of evil child murderer

David Baird served 16 years for 'brutal' killing of toddler

Convicted child killer David Baird
Convicted child killer David Baird

By Lisa Smyth

A woman found guilty of stealing from her 87-year-old disabled neighbour is the mother of an evil child killer who battered his girlfriend's two-year-old son to death, it can be revealed today.

Avril Baird (73), who admitted helping herself to cash belonging to her elderly neighbour, is the mum of David Baird who served 16 years of a life sentence for the horrific drink and drugs-fuelled murder of tot Philip Carton in 1991.

The callous thief was handed a suspended sentence earlier this week for stealing £120 from her vulnerable victim.

The family of Baird's elderly victim said they did not want to comment.

However, a woman who lives in the vicinity of the Ballymoney estate where former nurse Baird lives last night said it is widely believed she took considerably more money over the years.

"Nobody wants her around here - everyone is absolutely disgusted at what she has done," she said.

"The family set up cameras to catch whoever was taking the money and she was caught going into the purse when she was round making a cup of tea or other things like that.

"It seems like every time she went into that house she was taking money, so who knows how long it had been going on for or how much she actually took?

"The poor woman she stole from is in a wheelchair; she's a lovely wee lady and very well respected, but that didn't seem to matter to Avril who pretended to be her friend and then stole from her," she said.

"I can't imagine how distressing it must have been for her to find out that someone who was supposed to be her friend and who she trusted and allowed to come into her home was actually stealing from her.

"She has befriended other vulnerable people over the years, who have since died, and everyone believes she must have been stealing from them too.

"She had control over one of their pension books but they didn't have any children so there wasn't anyone to keep an eye on what was going on - she could have had thousands over the years."

She was snared after a relative of the victim grew suspicious about missing money.

Coleraine Magistrates' Court heard the family member installed a camera in the house which caught despicable Baird in the act of stealing money from her supposed friend's purse.

The local resident continued: "How low can you go?

"There really are no words for it and, as far as people are concerned, reports in the newspapers that suggest she just got a bit carried away and took £120 couldn't be further from the truth.

"No one ever said anything to Avril over the years about (her son) David because people almost felt sorry for her that her child did such a terrible thing, but any sympathy is well and truly gone now."

David Baird was convicted of the brutal murder of Philip Carton in the home he shared with the toddler's mum. 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 boy in their Coleraine home one night in August of the previous year.

"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.

In 2008, it emerged that Baird was living in Ballymena just yards from People's Park in the town. He subsequently refused to apologise 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 told the Sunday Life.

"I'm really sorry for what I've done and I'm just trying to get on with my life."

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