A FATHER-OF-TWO was yesterday convicted of the murder of two-year-old Madison Horn in her own home and ordered to serve at least 22 years in jail.
Kevin Park, who had 38 previous convictions, launched a murderous attack on the toddler while he was babysitting her.
He battered the youngster’s head off a wall at least twice, punched and stamped on her, and prosecutors believe he may have also used a broken pool cue in the violent, sustained attack.
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Her skull was fractured, she suffered internal bleeding and tearing to her liver, and some of her hair was torn out. In total, she had 65 separate injuries.
Yesterday at the High Court in Glasgow, Park, 27, was given a life sentence by judge Michael O’Grady QC.
In a statement after the verdict, Madison’s family said: “This has been a very hard and difficult time for family and friends of Madison.
“We are pleased that justice has been served, but it will never be enough as Anne Marie is the one stuck with the life sentence of never seeing beautiful Madison again.”
Judge O’Grady told Park: “It is the misfortune of those of us who practise in these courts to see and hear of, day after day, the dreadful things that 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 no doubt terrifying death.
“It is said so often – because it is true – no sentence that I can impose can change anything for Madison and those who loved her and from whom she has been taken.
“In reality, no sentence I can impose can truly reflect the sheer awfulness of what you have done.”
Judge O’Grady added: “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.
As the jury of nine men and six woman delivered their verdict, finding Park unanimously guilty of murder, members of Madison’s family shouted: “Yes.”
Her mother Ann Marie White sobbed in the public benches. Park showed no emotion.
Advocate depute Jennifer Bain, prosecuting, told the court that Park had 38 previous convictions including a number for violence.
At the time he carried out the murder, Park was Ms White’s boyfriend and had recently moved into her home in Kelty, Fife. He was babysitting Madison while her mother went to a friend’s birthday celebration in Cowdenbeath.
Ms White told the High Court in Glasgow her daughter was a happy child. The mother said when she left the house at 2.30pm that day, Madison was laughing. She added: “She was hyper, but she was fine – jumping on the bed, laughing.”
Three and a half hours later, Madison was lying fatally injured. A woman in a nearby garden said she heard a child’s piercing scream just before 6pm.
At 6.15pm, Park dialled 999. The operator, paramedics and police described him as unemotional and uninterested in Madison’s condition Madison was rushed to hospital but died from her injuries.
Park, who did not give evidence, had denied the charges and claimed Madison had hurt herself on a treadmill then fell off a bed.
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