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  1. ITV Report

Man pleads not guilty to toddler murder

Liam Whoriskey, who is accused of murdering three-year-old Kayden McGuinness in Derry. Credit: Pacemaker

A 24-year-old Londonderry man is to stand trial later this year accused of murdering a three-year-old child.

Kayden McGuinness's lifeless body was discovered in the bedroom of his Columbcille Court home in the Bogside area of the city in September 2017.

Liam Whoriskey - who at the time of Kayden's death was in a relationship with the child's mother - appeared in court on Friday, where he denied murdering the youngster.

Whoriskey, from Glenabbey Gardens in the Galliagh area, spoke to confirm his name.

When the charge of murdering Kayden on a date between 16 and 17 September 2017 was put to him, he replied "not guilty."

Whoriskey appeared in the dock of Londonderry Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, as Kayden's family sat behind him in the public gallery. As the charges linked to Kayden's death were put to Whoriskey, several member of Kayden's family wept with some leaving the court.

Whoriskey was also charged with causing or allowing the death of a child by an unlawful act, as well as two counts of child cruelty. The court that regarding the latter offences, Whoriskey is accused of wilfully assaulting Kayden in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health on 15 August 2017, and again on date between 6 and 16 September 2017.

As well as denying murder, Whoriskey replied 'not guilty' to the further three offences.

Although no details regarding Kayden's death were disclosed, a bail hearing held last summer heard it's the Crown's case that the youngster died from a 'blunt force attack' to his head.

After Whoriskey entered 'not guilty' pleas to all four charges, Mr Justice Colton was told by a Crown prosecutor: "It is anticipated the case will return to the north of the Province, either Londonderry or Coleraine."

When the Judge was informed that the trial is expected to last "no more than three weeks", he set the date for the hearing as 13 May.

Whoriskey was then remanded back into custody and was led from the dock in handcuffs by prison staff.