Northern Ireland toddler Kayden (3) died in 13-blow beating, court told
A three-year-old boy whose body was found in his family’s Londonderry flat last year died from one of 13 blows he received to his head during a single blunt force attack, a court has heard.
Kayden McGuinness died at Colmcille Court in Derry’s Bogside last September 17, the city’s Magistrates Court heard yesterday.
A solicitor for the Public Prosecution Service said that one of the blows, which Kayden suffered in a matter of seconds, resulted in subdural haematoma bleeding that caused the brain to swell, resulting in the toddler’s death.
The disclosures were made during a video-link bail application from Maghaberry Prison by 23-year-old Liam Whoriskey, a waiter from Glenabbey Gardens in Derry.
He had been remanded in custody on June 13 charged with murdering Kayden, who was the son of his then partner.
The defendant denies murder.
Objecting to the defendant being released on bail, the solicitor said after the results of an autopsy were made available to the police last month, the defendant was arrested and charged with Kayden’s murder.
He said the child had suffered multiple head and scalp injuries in a single violent incident and would have survived for only half-an-hour after the fatal blow was inflicted on him.
The court also heard that Kayden had sustained other injuries before his death, including two black eyes.
The defendant, when questioned by the police about that incident, said that Kayden had hit himself with some of his toys, the court heard.
The prosecutor also said that the autopsy had revealed that Kayden suffered a fractured rib between six and 10 days before his death.
He said after his original arrest on suspicion of murder the defendant told detectives that the night before Kayden was found dead he had been babysitting him and his younger sister while their mother was at a family function.
He said he stayed alone with the two children and that after he had put Kayden to bed he heard the child playing and laughing in his bedroom.
When he checked on Kayden the following morning he found the child was dead.
The defendant said he had consumed four cans of Guinness when babysitting the toddler and his younger sister.
A detective constable said the PSNI had received information of a threat against the defendant from republican paramilitaries.
She said she believed that if the defendant was released on bail that it would result in serious public disorder, as tensions in the community were still running high following Kayden’s death.
The police officer said she also opposed bail as she believed he could move to the Republic if it was granted.
She said that since investigating detectives had received the autopsy results last month “things have changed”.
Applying for bail, defence barrister Eoghan Devlin said he had potential bail addresses for the defendant, two in Derry and one across the border, not too far from Derry.
“It was known in this city he was interviewed for the murder many months ago and there have been no public disorder incidents between the time he was arrested and charged,” the barrister said.
“The medical position is extremely complex and there are multiple medical enquiries into this case.”
District Judge Barney McElholm said that after Kayden’s mother had left the family home, the defendant remained on his own looking after her two children before she returned the following morning.
Mr McElholm said the post mortem results proved conclusively that Kayden had been unlawfully killed.
“This child received 13 blows to the head at the same time, one of which caused subdural damage leading to a swelling of brain causing death,” he said.
“The only rational explanation is that the child was assaulted, but that does not prove who did it.
“If I were to release this man to a bail address even outside of the city, I have no doubt whatsoever that there would be public disorder.
“The main point here is the date in play when the post mortem results came back and the cause of death was determined.
“I am trying to imagine a situation where someone could accidentally receive 13 blows to the head at the same time, particularly a child of that age, and I just cannot think of one.
“Whoever did this, and I am not the tribunal that will decide on the facts of this, I have to face the situation that this man has been charged.
“Whoever did this, if they could kill a child in that way, heaven only knows what they would do.
“Anyone capable of doing this, whoever it is, is capable of doing anything.”
Mr McElholm said a regardless of the paramilitary threat against the defendant, there was also extreme anger in the community.
“There is a risk of public disorder in this city and a risk to the safety of the defendant,” the district judge said.
“I do not think this man is a suitable candidate for bail at this time.
“The heat has not gone out of this situation.”
Bail was refused and the defendant was remanded in continuing custody for a video link hearing on July 23.