Belfast Telegraph

I was horrified by scenes at flat where Kayden McGuinness (3) died, doctor tells trial

Kayden McGuinness
Kayden McGuinness

By George Jackson

A forensic medical officer has told the trial of a Londonderry man accused of murdering a toddler that she told police at the scene she believed the child had not died of natural causes and had suffered "a catalogue of injuries".

Liam Whoriskey (25), from Glenabbey Gardens in Derry, denies murdering Kayden McGuinness (3) in the child's family flat at Colmcille Court in the Bogside area of the city between September 16 and 17, 2017.

Dr Amanda Burns told the fifth day of the trial that when she left the scene of the child's death following her examination, she made it "most definitely clear to a detective sergeant my opinion was this child did not die of natural causes".

The forensic officer also told the jurors at the Crown Court in Derry yesterday that she noted "a catalogue of injuries to this child, some of which may have been contributory to the cause of death".

Whoriskey also denies two charges of inflicting cruelty on the child and denies an additional charge of failing to protect him.

Dr Burns said she arrived at the scene at 12.15pm and left at 2pm.

"To be quite honest, I was quite horrified at some of the scenes in the flat," she said.

"To me it was almost like a staged scene of neglect, indicating a high level of neglect in that household."

Dr Burns said she noted a catalogue of injuries to the child's face, including four linear bruises to the right side of the neck which were 3-7cm long and up to 1.5cm wide. She said she was able to place her hand over the area of the linear bruises.

Dr Burns said it was difficult to age the injuries but she believed they'd been sustained between 24 and 72 hours earlier. She said rigor mortis had set in.

"I believe the child died at some stage during the night but I can't say if it was midnight or at three in the morning," she added.

She said the flat was in a dishevelled condition with beer cans laying around, a knife and screwdriver visible to her, a glass tankard containing a brown odourless liquid, and in a second bedroom next to where the child's body was found she saw a badminton racquet on the bed.

Cross-examined by defence barrister Ciaran Mallon, Dr Burns said she did not see obvious injuries to the child's scalp as her inspection of the body was a visual one and she did not want to move the body.

She said she could not disagree with pathological evidence that the bruising could have been 72 hours old.

When told by Mr Mallon that the child's mother Erin McLaughlin had said her son would jump off a windowsill or off a television stand injuring himself up to 50 times a day, Dr Burns said a child with behavioural issues such as Kayden could be more active and sustain injuries as a result of their over-activity.

The trial continues.

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