Mother of murdered Ali Jayden Doyle admits child cruelty

Darryn Armstrong pleaded guilt to murder

Alan Lewis -     21-5-2024
Murdered baby Ali Jayden Doyle’s aunt Cathleen outside Belfast Crown Court after seeing the baby girl’s killer plead guilty today, (Tuesday 21st).  
Court Copy by Ashleigh McDonald via AM News
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Murdered baby Ali Jayden Doyle (Alan Lewis - Photopress Belfast/Photopress Belfast)

The mother of a two-year old girl who was murdered by her on/off boyfriend has admitted a charge of child cruelty.

Ali Jayden Doyle died from head injuries she sustained in a house in the Park Avenue area of Dungannon in August 2021.

Ali Jayden’s mother Jade Dempsey appeared at Belfast Crown Court no Friday where it emerged that she left her daughter in the care of on/off boyfriend Darryn John Armstrong while she went to Belfast to collect a pram for her children.

Earlier this week 35-year old Armstrong, whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry, was handed a Life Sentence after he pleaded guilty to murdering the toddler.

Deceased toddler Ali Jayden Doyle’s mother, Jade Dempsey, admitted a charge of child cruelty after her daughter was murdered by on/off boyfriend Darryn Armstrong

He initially blamed Ali Jayden's one-year old brother for causing the fatal wound by throwing a toy at her, but has now admitted that whilst under the influence of drugs he threw Ali Jayden who hit her head on a fireplace.

Speaking outside court after admitted the child cruelty charge, Dempsey spoke to reporters and said she was "devastated" by what happened to her daughter.

The 27-year old said: "I will have to live with it for the rest of my life.

"I have her (Ali Jayden's) ashes sitting at home. I cry myself to sleep every night. If I could take it back, I would."

Dempsey, whose address is the subject of a reporting restriction, was initially charged with two offences arising from her daughter's death.

In court, her barrister Gavan Duffy KC addressed Mr Justice O'Hara and asked that his client to re-arraigned.

After confirming her identity to a court clerk, Dempsey was charged that on August 6, 2021 she wilfully neglected and exposed her daughter in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health.

When asked how she pleaded, Dempsey replied "guilty."

Alan Lewis-      10-8-2021
Darren Armstrong who appeared at Omagh Magistrates Court via videolink charged with the murder of two year old Ali Jayden Doyle, the Dungannon child, who was taken to hospital on Friday where she later died after sustaining injuries at a house in Park Avenue in the town.
( Social Media Sourced Picture )
Darryn Armstrong (Alan Lewis-Photopress Belfast/Photopress Belfast)

Crown barrister Ciaran Murphy KC said that in light of this plea which was "accepted", the prosecution was leaving a charge of causing the death of a child by an unlawful act "on the books" and it will not now be proceeded with.

Mr Murphy also revealed he would be lodging Victim Impact Statements ahead of sentencing.

Citing the circumstances of the case as "terrible", Mr Duffy then told the court: "On the day on which the injuries were inflicted upon Ali Jayden, Ms Dempsey had just left to travel to Belfast to collect a pram which she had ordered for the children and that was the purpose of leaving them.

"She hadn't left for very long when she got a call to return."

Mr Duffy also described his client as a "very vulnerable young lady" and said the defence have obtained psychiatric and psychological reports which will be provided ahead of her being sentenced.

After ordering Pre-Sentence Reports to be compiled on both Dempsey and Armstrong, Mr Justice O’Hara set the plea hearing for both defendants as Friday June 28.