A man who murdered his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter while babysitting has been jailed for life.
Kevin Park must serve at least 22 years for his savage attack on toddler Madison Horn, who suffered 65 separate injuries.
He battered her head off a wall, punched and stamped on her and is even believed to have used a broken pool cue during the terrifying assault.
The officer in charge of the investigation said Madison’s injuries were the ‘most horrific’ he had ever seen.
The brutal attack came after the little girl’s mother, Anne Marie White, left Park to babysit while she went to a party.
Only hours later, Madison died in hospital after suffering a fractured skull, internal bleeding and tearing to her liver.
Last night, it emerged that Park has 38 previous convictions – including domestic violence.
At the High Court in Glasgow, judge Michael O’Grady said: ‘It is the misfortune of those of us who practise in these courts to hear of, day after day, the dreadful things human beings can do, one to another. But even by those awful standards what you have done is wicked beyond all imagining.
‘A child in your care looked to you for comfort, protection and probably even love. And instead, for some reason quite beyond comprehension, you inflicted upon her a callous, cruel and terrifying death.’
It is understood social workers had no involvement after Park moved in with single mother Miss White. Fife Council yesterday announced a significant case review to examine if Madison could have been better protected.
Miss White held her head in her hands and sobbed as the guilty verdict was delivered. The 22-year-old had been in a relationship with Park for only five months before he attacked the little girl.
Miss White had earlier told the court how he got on ‘really well’ with Madison, and that the child would ‘shout for him’ when he was not in the house in Kelty, Fife.
She left him babysitting on April 20 to go to a friend’s birthday party, leaving her daughter happy, healthy and jumping on a bed. But just over three hours later the toddler was unconscious and dying.
A neighbour who had been in a nearby garden reported hearing a child scream at 6pm that evening.
Park, 27, called an ambulance at 6.15pm. Madison’s injuries indicated that she had been grabbed or pinched by her ears and a pattern imprinted on her head was consistent with being stamped on by training shoes. The court heard that Park twice hit her head off a wall.
Forensic experts who examined the house found two indentations on the hallway wall, one containing a strand of Madison’s blonde hair.
A dressing gown, which bore Park’s DNA, had blood on it and clumps of hair. Forensic scientist Kirsty McTurk said the hair still had roots, suggesting it had been pulled from the scalp.
Miss White, who rushed home after being told by her partner that Madison had fallen from a bed, said: ‘I was with her when she died. She just looked so lifeless. There was bruising on her cheek, head and ear. Some of her hair was missing.’
Madison died at 10.50pm at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Fife.
Miss White paid tribute to her daughter during the court case, describing her as a ‘happy child’.
She said: ‘She loved playing outside, colouring in, playing with her toys. She was spoiled by everyone.’
Recalling the day Madison had been left happily playing in Park’s care, the young mother said: ‘She had been trying to put my make-up on, as I had left it on the bed.’
In a statement following yesterday’s verdict, Miss White said: ‘This has been a very hard and difficult time for the family and friends of Madison. We are pleased that justice has been served.’
Park, who did not give evidence, denied killing the girl, claiming she had injured herself on a treadmill and then fallen off a bed, which collapsed as she jumped on it at 5.15pm.
He said it was only after 6pm that he noticed her lips had turned blue and she was unconscious. Minutes earlier, he claimed, she had been watching a cartoon and eating chips.
However pathologists said that the injuries suffered by Madison to her head and abdomen would have resulted in her very quickly lapsing into unconsciousness.
The jury of nine men and six woman refused to believe the killer’s version of events and found him unanimously guilty of murder, to shouts of ‘Yes’ from Madison’s family. Park was emotionless as the verdict was announced.
Judge O’Grady told him: ‘The question of when you will be released, if indeed you are ever released, is not a matter for me. That will be a matter for the Parole Board. In reality, no sentence I can impose can truly reflect the sheer awfulness of what you have done.’
Turning to the jury, he said: ‘This was a deeply distressing case. You have been required to see and hear things no sane person would ever wish to hear.’
She loved and trusted him so deeply that she defended him only hours after her daughter died.
But Anne Marie White, 22, would later learn that the man she had let into her home had broken that trust and savagely beaten her two-year-old daughter to death.
Kevin Park, 27, fooled the young mother into believing that little Madison had died after falling from her bed while playing, despite rumours that he had killed her.
Writing on her Facebook page only hours after Madison was pronounced dead at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Miss White said that Park ‘would never hurt’ the toddler.
She hit out at speculation in her home town of Kelty, Fife, that suggested Park had played a role in Madison’s death.
The couple had been together only five months when the toddler died on April 20.
Miss White said: ‘Well I suppose everyone knows I lost my precious little girl last night and I know what everyone is saying, especially about Kevin. I just want to say that he would never hurt her. This was just an accident. It would have happened if I was in the house. He’s not a bad person.’
She said that she was ‘pretty certain’ Park would protect her daughter, just like he would his own kids.
‘He wouldn’t let anything happen to his own kids so I’m pretty certain that he wouldn’t hurt Madison,’ Miss White added. ‘He loves her to bits. He will miss her.’ Park had only recently moved in with Miss White and Madison.
On the night of her daughter’s death, the young mother had been out celebrating her friend’s birthday and had left Park, who has two children of his own, in charge of Madison.
Like many mothers, she believed that the person she had left looking after her beloved daughter could be trusted to make sure the child remained safe.
Yet in the short time she was gone, Park attacked and killed the youngster.
The morning after Madison’s ‘lifeless body’ was urgently admitted to hospital, neighbours said that they had seen Park being escorted from Miss White’s ground floor flat into a police car, fuelling speculation he had killed the child.
Giving evidence in court, Miss White said that she was ‘content’ to leave Madison in Park’s care and that her daughter had been ‘hyper’ when she left.
Contrary to Miss White’s statement online after her daughter’s death, Police Constable John McDiarmid said that Park was more interested in smoking than in looking after Madison.
He was giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow last week about what he witnessed after arriving at Miss White’s home.
PC McDiarmid said: ‘There was no asking how she was. His main concern was trying to roll a cigarette.’
Paramedic Paul Cooney, who battled to save Madison, said that Park ‘wasn’t really upset’ despite the youngster’s serious condition.
Culled from Daily mail