Northern Ireland news

Toddler Kayden's mum says she hopes his killer 'rots in hell'

Erin McLaughlin outside court. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

THE MOTHER of Derry toddler Kayden McGuinness says she hopes her son’s killer “rots in hell”.

Erin McLaughlin was speaking after her former fiancé was found guilty of the manslaughter of three-year-old Kayden at the family home at Colmcille Court in Derry’s Bogside on the night of September 16 2017.

Liam Whoriskey (25) from Glenabbey Gardens in Derry was also found guilty of child cruelty towards Kayden.

Ms McLaughlin, who has a two-year-old daughter, said her son was “lovely”. Like any toddler he loved playing and watching Paw Patrol, a popular children’s cartoon.

“He was fussy with his wee food. He was just a wee boy; he loved playing and he loved his life.”

Ms McLaughlin said Whoriskey took her son’s life away from him.

"I am happy with the outcome and I hope he rots in jail.

"Nobody can ever understand how difficult it is to lose a child in this way."

“I hope to God the judge takes a good bit of his life away from him,” she said.

Ms McLaughlin said she felt nothing but hatred for Whoriskey.

“I hope he rots in hell; I can’t stand him. I could generally say I’ve never hated anybody in my life as much as I’ve hated him,” she said.

Speaking about her reaction to the verdict in court, Ms McLaughlin said: "I jumped out of my seat, just the reason being because we got some sort of outcome and that's it."

In an 18-day trial, the jury heard that Kayden died from head injuries which caused a swollen brain. Fifteen non-accidental bruises were found on his scalp.

Kayden’s home at Colmcille Court is on the city centre end of the Bogside, which is usually packed with parked cars belonging to city centre workers.

For months after Kayden’s body was found, the upstairs flat at remained sealed off. The metal barriers over the doors and windows along with some floral tributes were the only indication of what had happened.

As commuters walked past the flat yesterday - now re-let and freshly painted - few appeared to be aware of the horrors that unfolded there.

In Colmcille Court yesterday, neighbours told how they were left heartbroken by the case. One woman, who did not want to be named, told The Irish News she couldn’t bring herself to follow the detail.

“I couldn’t follow it; it broke my heart, especially from baby sitting my own.”

In the hours and days after Kayden’s body was found, the Derry woman said neighbours were shocked by stories and rumours circulating in the area. However, people were reticent about discussing the detail of the trial.

“I’m shocked, just shocked,” she said.

Bogside independent councillor, Sean Carr, who lives close to the property where Kayden lost his life, said people were sensitive to what the McLaughlin and McGuinness families have been through.

Mr Carr said: “I think most people were thinking of the pain Kayden’s family had to be going through and they tended not to speak out. I know nothing can ease that pain but I hope the family gets some kind of closure from today’s result. God rest the wee lad.”

NSPCC Northern Ireland described Kayden’s ordeal as “devastating”.

“Kayden McGuinness was subjected to unimaginable pain and anguish during his short life,” the organisation said.

A spokesman urged anyone concerned about a young child’s welfare to contact them at 0808 800 5000.

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