Belfast Telegraph

I never harmed my son at any time, mum tells jury at murder trial of her accused ex-partner

Kayden McGuinness was found dead while in the care of Liam Whoriskey
Kayden McGuinness was found dead while in the care of Liam Whoriskey

By George Jackson

A mother whose former partner is accused of murdering her three-year-old son has said she never harmed the child.

Erin McLaughlin also denied that she had ever lost control and grabbed her son by his head during the second day of a murder trial at Londonderry Crown Court.

Liam Whoriskey (25), a waiter from Glenabbey Gardens, denies murdering Kayden McGuinness. The child's bruised body was found in his bed at his home at Colmcille Court in the Bogside area of the city on September 17, 2017.

Whoriskey, who had been living in the family home for eight months, also denies two charges of inflicting cruelty on Kayden and denies a further charge of failing to protect the child.

Kayden's body was found in his bed the morning after the defendant had babysat him and the boy's five-month-old sister while their mother Erin, was out socialising.

Jurors have already been told that Kayden died as a result of sustaining 15 blunt force trauma injuries to his scalp, which caused bleeding and swelling of the brain.

The prosecution case is that the boy's injuries were non-accidental.

Ms McLaughlin, who had been arrested and questioned on suspicion of murdering her son and who had become engaged to the defendant a week before her son's death, continued to be cross-examined by defence counsel Ciaran Mallon QC yesterday.

Mr Mallon put it to Ms McLaughlin that, while she was able to give a detailed statement to police about the events of September 16 and 17, the day when her son's body was found by the defendant, she had no recollection of the events of Friday, September 15, when she was the only adult in the family flat with Kayden.

"I am suggesting to you something happened in that flat on the Friday when you were the only adult in the flat with Kayden and you do not want to remember it," Mr Mallon said.

The witness replied: "No."

"Just so as the jury are left in no doubt, I put it to you, you were the adult with sole custody and care of Kayden on the Friday when my client was out at work", the barrister continued.

Ms McLaughlin replied: "Yes."

The defence barrister then said: "I am putting it to you, might something have happened with Kayden which caused you, conveniently or otherwise, not able to remember anything that happened on the Friday?"

She again replied: "No."

"Did things get on top of you to such an extent that you were just overwhelmed," he asked the witness, who again replied: "No."

"Did things ever get too much for you Ms McLaughlin?" added Mr Mallon, to which the witness replied: "No, no."

Ms McLaughlin agreed that on the evening before Kayden's body was found her son had been behaving out of character.

She agreed with Mr Mallon's description of her son's behaviour as weird and out of the ordinary.

Ms McLaughlin also agreed that Kayden's out-of-character behaviour included the child putting himself to bed, not bringing his toys to bed with him, and the fact that Kayden didn't go into the kitchen to play 10, nine, eight, seven countdown with his mother as she heated his bedtime milk bottle in the microwave.

The trial continues.

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