Man convicted of murdering partner’s son, 3, after weeks of ‘horrendous cruelty’

Man convicted of murdering partner’s son, 3, after weeks of ‘horrendous cruelty’
Youngster died after being found lifeless at home in West Bromwich in June 2018

A man has been convicted of murdering his partner’s three-year-old son after weeks of “horrendous” beating, in some incidents using force similar to a car crash.

Kemarni Watson Darby died after being found lifeless at his home in West Bromwich på 5 juni 2018.

The verdict came after a court heard evidence that Kemarni‘s body, which had 34 separate areas of external injuries, had acted as a “silent witness” to Nathaniel Pope’s crime.

Alicia Watson, 30, of Handsworth, Birmingham, and her then-partner Pope, 32, av Wolverhampton, both denied murder and child cruelty charges.

Drug dealer Pope, of Wolverhampton, was convicted unanimously of murder at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday.

<p>Undated handout photo issued by West Midlands Police of Kemarni Watson Darby</s>

Undated handout photo issued by West Midlands Police of Kemarni Watson Darby

Watson was cleared of murdering her son but found guilty of causing or allowing the child’s death.

Described in court as “partners in crime, the pair blamed one another from the witness box, despite continuing to have lived together for several months after for the boy’s death.

A four-month trial at Birmingham Crown Court heard Kemarni suffered fatal abdominal injuries at his mother’s flat, where he lived with Pope.

The prosecution claimed Kermani was fatally assaulted at the flat and that he had been subjected to previous abuse.

Watson told the court she had never harmed her son and that she took him to see a nurse just hours before his death, genuinely believing he was sick.

Pope previously told the court he did not see or hear the alleged assault that killed Kermani.

<p>An electrical wire was being used a makeshift lock on a bedroom door at the flat where three-year-old Kemarni Watson Darby was killed in West Bromwich</s>

An electrical wire was being used a makeshift lock on a bedroom door at the flat where three-year-old Kemarni Watson Darby was killed in West Bromwich

Pope and Watson were also convicted of a single court each of child cruelty to Kemarni between 1 mai og 5 juni 2018, relating to the infliction of rib fractures and an abdominal injury prior to the fatal injury.

They were also separately convicted of two further counts of child cruelty in relation to other children.

The pair will both be sentenced at a later date.

During the 65-day trial, Watson described the Crown’s case as “disgustingly wrong”, despite jurors unanimously convicting her of child cruelty and causing or allowing her little boy’s death.

On the penultimate day of her six days of evidence, she suffered a nosebleed and told the jury she was mentally and physically exhausted, adding she was “done” with giving evidence.

The judge at Birmingham Crown Court then allowed the 30-year-old to complete her testimony by videolink at HMP Foston Hall in Derbyshire, with the end of her cross-examination limited to just one hour.

<p>Kemarni Watson Darby with his mother Alicia Watson as they returned to their flat in West Bromwich where he was fatally assaulted on 5 June 2018</s>

Kemarni Watson Darby with his mother Alicia Watson as they returned to their flat in West Bromwich where he was fatally assaulted on 5 juni 2018

“Adjustments” made to the normal protocol surrounding the questioning of defendants were said to be reasonable given the information given to the court about Watson‘s health.

During questioning by Pope’s QC Jonas Hankin she spoke of being “pissed off” with some of the questions ranged at her.

Before she was charged, the mother also said she had continued to co-habit with Pope for a significant period after the death of her son because she did not believe the claims being made about how her son had died.

Asked how many of Kermani’s injuries she had been aware of, Watson told prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC: “None. He had old scarring from accidents but nothing new as far as I knew.

“I didn’t cause them, I didn’t see them. I loved and cared for my child for three years.”

Claiming to have been horrified at “learning” of Kemarni‘s internal injuries, including damage to his abdomen, Watson repeatedly denied lying.

Mr Badenoch put it to Watson that she had not been living with a “secretive child abuser” but acted with Pope to abuse Kemarni “for days, months and hours on end”.

Following today’s verdict, it emerged that Pope had previously launched a brutal attack on a young mother on a London bus in 2011.

Pope repeatedly smashed the victim’s head into a hand-rail, dragged her off the bus by her hair and kicked her as she lay on the pavement.

Details of the assault were kept from the jury after he claimed they were “markedly different” to the facts surrounding the killing of Kemarni.

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