Belfast Telegraph

'I hope he rots in jail,' says Kayden McGuinness mum after Whoriskey found guilty over death of toddler

Defendant Liam Whoriskey
Defendant Liam Whoriskey
Liam Whoriskey

By George Jackson

Derry man Liam Whoriskey has been found guilty of the manslaughter of three-year-old Kayden McGuinness in the child's family home in September 2017.

Outside the court the boy's mother Erin McLaughlin said justice has been done.

"It has been a very, very difficult time. I am happy with the outcome and I hope he rots in jail," she said.

After just one hour and twenty minutes of deliberations, following an 18 day-long trial, the jurors found Whoriskey, 25, unanimously guilty of manslaughter and unanimously guilty of inflicting cruelty on the child.

Whoriskey shook his head as he stood in the dock when the verdict was announced.

He was remanded into custody ahead of a sentencing hearing to be held on November 29.

Judge Babington then excused the jurors from future jury duty for life. He told them it had been a very emotional case for them to have to hear.

Kayden's mother Erin together with members of her family were in the packed public gallery alongside members of Whoriskey's family.

There was uproar in the courtroom when when the verdicts were announced.

Members of Kayden's family and the Whoriskey family exchanged verbal insults before the courtroom was cleared.

Three-year-old Kayden McGuinness
Three-year-old Kayden McGuinness

The Whoriskey family, among them his mother and his grandparents, were separately led out of the court building via a side door.

Police reinforcements were also present in the courtroom.

People in the public gallery shouted "thank you" to the jurors and Whoriskey was verbally abused as he was taken from the dock to the cell below.

He had been babysitting Kayden and his baby sister between the evening of September 16 and the morning of September 17, 2017.

The child cruelty conviction related to an incident on August 15, 2017, when Kayden was found to have sustained a bruised nose and two black eyes.

On a second charge of child cruelty between September 6 and September 16, 2017, the trial judge, Judge Philip Babington instructed the jury to find the defendant not guilty by direction.

Kayden's mother Erin, who became engaged to Whoriskey just five days before the death of her son, said she believed justice has been done.

"It has been a very, very difficult time. I am happy with the outcome and I hope he rots in jail. Nobody can ever understand how difficult it is to have lost a child in this way," she said.

During the trial jurors heard evidence from 27 prosecution witnesses and from four defence witnesses. They were told that Whoriskey had the sole overnight custody of Kayden in the family flat at Colmcille Court when the child's mother went out socialising with family members and friends.

Kayden was found dead by Whoriskey just before 10 am on September 17, 15 hours after the child had gone to bed. He had 15 bruises to his scalp and face, none of which was visible to either his mother nor to Whoriskey when the child went to bed.

Kayden died as a result of the blunt trauma injuries which caused a bleeding and a swelling of his brain.

Following the verdict a spokesperson for NSPCC Northern Ireland said that Kayden was "subjected to unimaginable pain and anguish during his short life – with devastating consequences". 

“Young children, depend entirely on those caring for them, so it is vital that anyone concerned about their welfare speaks out. They can call the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 where trained counsellors will be there to listen and potentially take action on their behalf,” the spokesperson said.

The NSPCC’s confidential helpline is available 24/7 on 0808 8005000 or by emailing help@nspcc.org.uk.

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