Opinion: Kayden McGuinness suffered a brutal end at the hands of someone who should have protected him

Liam Whoriskey (25) has been jailed for seven and a half years for causing the death of Kayden McGuinness. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

For the vast majority of people it is beyond comprehension that anyone could inflict pain and suffering on a child.

For someone to cause a child to die is a horror beyond belief.

Kayden McGuinness was just three years old when his life was cut short at the hands of a man who was supposed to be taking care of him.

On the night he died in September 2017, Kayden's mother, Erin McLaughlin, put him to bed in the family's flat in Derry, gave him three little kisses and told him she loved him.

Liam Whoriskey, her former partner, was looking after the child while she was attending a family gathering.

However, the little boy was later found dead in bed.

He had suffered 15 bruises on his scalp and died from swelling and bleeding of the brain after he was subjected to a 'battering'.

Whoriskey was convicted of manslaughter and cruelty to a child by a jury in October.

Yesterday, he was given a fifteen year sentence - half to be served in prison and half in the community under licence.

No sentence, of course, can compensate for the loss of a child but it is important that a message is sent out to dangerous individuals such as Whoriskey.

He has shown no remorse for his terrible crime and when questioned denied causing the injuries to the child, who was being assessed for autism.

Detective Inspector Peter McKenna said that he knew the boy, already vulnerable because of his age and with some communication difficulties, would never be able to explain what had happened to him had he survived.

We still do now know exactly what took place on that fateful night when he should have been making sure the child was safe.

We do know that Whoriskey did something to Kayden then left him to die, only calling for help many hours later when he woke up.

This defenceless child met a most brutal end from a man who had previously assaulted him and shown aggressive behaviour towards him.

This is an absolutely dreadful case, the harrowing details of which are difficult for most of us to contemplate.

Whoriskey is now in prison but nothing can end the agony of Kayden's family, who loved him dearly.




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