Belfast Telegraph

He assaulted me, ex-partner of Kayden McGuinness murder accused tells trial

Toni Connor, the former partner of Liam Whoriskey
Toni Connor, the former partner of Liam Whoriskey

By George Jackson

A former partner of a man alleged to have murdered a toddler has told his trial that the accused assaulted her several times during their three-year relationship.

Toni Connor was yesterday giving evidence during the eighth day of the trial of Liam Whoriskey.

She told the jury she would never leave her son alone with the defendant, who is the child's father.

Whoriskey (25), a waiter from Glenabbey Gardens in Londonderry, denies murdering Kayden McGuinness, his then fiancée's three-year-old son, in the boy's family home at Colmcille Court in the Bogside between September 16 and 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.

Jurors have previously been told that Kayden sustained 15 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 18 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.

Ms Connor said that 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 said she "never felt comfortable" leaving her son alone with the defendant.

Ms Connor said on another occasion when she had 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 the defendant swore at their son if he was making noise while the defendant was watching television.

Cross-examined by defence barrister Ciaran Mallon QC, 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".

A Public Prosecution Service barrister disclosed to the jury that Whoriskey had two criminal convictions in relation to Ms Connor.

"On August 12, 2014, Liam Whoriskey was convicted of criminal damage and assault occasioning actual bodily harm," they said.

The offences related to an incident on December 24, 2013 when Ms Connor made a verbal complaint to the police but later refused to make a statement, the court heard.

The defendant, at the scene and in police interview, accepted smashing the windows at the property but denied using violence.

"On April 8, 2016, Liam Whoriskey was convicted of an offence of common assault. The complainant was Toni Connor and the offence took place on August 14, 2015," the barrister added.

The trial will continue on Monday.

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