Belfast Telegraph

Kayden McGuinness murder accused interviewed 18 times as a suspect, court hears

Liam Whoriskey who is accused of murdering Kayden McGuinness
Liam Whoriskey who is accused of murdering Kayden McGuinness

By George Jackson

A 25-year-old man accused of killing a three-year-old boy was interviewed as a suspect 18 times following his arrest, a court has heard.

The defendant, Liam Whoriskey, a waiter from Glenabbey Gardens in Londonderry, denies murdering Kayden McGuinness in the child's family flat at colmcille Court in the Bogside area of the city between September 16 and September 17, 2017.

He also denies two charges of child cruelty and one charge of failing to protect the child.

Judge Philip Babington told the jurors at Londonderry Crown Court on Tuesday that the prosecution evidence was now over.

The defendant is expected to go into the witness box on Thursday and there is to be further defence evidence on Friday as well as next Monday.

Judge Babington said the prosecution and defence closing speeches would then take place next Tuesday followed by his summing up of the evidence to the jury. The 11 jurors would then retire, probably next Wednesday, to the jury room to start their deliberations.

The final prosecution witness was a detective inspector in the PSNI's Major Investigations Team. He told the jurors that the police investigation into the death of Kayden McGuinness was a large scale and complex investigation.

He said the investigation involved five pathologists, all of whom examined 15 injuries which had been inflicted on the child which resulted in the swelling and bleeding of the child's brain which led to his death.

The detective inspector said the sudden and unexplained death of Kayden was initially handled by CID before it was transferred to the Major Investigations Team where he was the case's senior investigator.

He said the police were first alerted to Kayden's death by a man called John Deery who lived below the family flat in Colmcille Court where Kayden lived with his mother Erin McLaughlin, his five-month-old sister and the defendant.

Kayden McGuinness
Kayden McGuinness

The police witness said Mr Deery rang 999 and told the police operator "the big fellow up stairs came down and he is crying. He thinks the baby in the house might be dead."

The detective inspector said all lines of enquiry, whether they pointed towards or away from a suspect, were followed.

Jurors were told that the defendant was interviewed by the police as a murder suspect in the presence of his solicitor eighteen times following his arrest in June of last year.

The jurors were told that the defendant made a series of no comment answers during the police interviews when questions were put to him by the police about the events leading up to Kayden's death.

Asked by a detective constable of 19 years' experience if he had felt emotional after finding Kayden's body in the child's bed on the morning of September 17, 2017, the defendant replied: "I don't know what I felt. It wasn't normal anyway. Would you feel emotional after finding a three year old? Of course I cried."

When the interviewing officer put the medical and forensic evidence to the defendant during the seventeenth interview, the defendant said "I never punched Kayden". When asked if he could account for the injuries found on the child's body, the defendant replied "I can't".

In the 18th interview the defendant, when again asked about the injuries to Kayden's scalp, replied: "I did not kill Kayden".

When the interviewing officer put it to him "so you've nothing to hide?", the defendant replied "no".

Asked by the detective constable "who do you think did it?" the defendant replied "no comment, I didn't hit any child".

Defence barrister Ciaran Mallon QC told the jury that he found it puzzling that almost ten months after the death of Kayden McGuinness, the police arrested both the defendant and the child's mother Erin McLaughlin on the same morning and questioned both of them for two days.

"Almost 10 months into this complex investigation, medically it was a complex investigation. The long and short of it is there were two suspects being interviewed on June 11 and June 12, 2018. Both were arrested on suspicion of murder based on the material or evidence the police had collated," he said.

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