A man who has been found guilty of murdering his wife’s three-year-old son, after hitting more than 20 times with broken ribs, was beaten for weeks by “horrific” beatings, including several using force similar to a car crash.
Convicted drug dealer Nathaniel Pope, 32, was unanimously approved by a Birmingham Crown Court jury on Tuesday, which heard evidence that Kemarni Watson Darby’s fragile body had 34 injuries. outside, acted as a “silent witness. “With his crimes.
Kemarni’s mother, Alicia Watson, 30, was cleared of her son’s murder but was found guilty of causing or allowing the child’s death.
Each was also found guilty of multiple crimes against children.
Justice Tipples praised the jury as “incredibly impressed” for their “dedication and commitment” during the 65-day trial, when one juror openly wept after the sentencing.
The judge herself became emotional when she ordered the 10-member panel of five men and five women to leave their future jury service for life due to the “terrible nature of the truth” that they have to review for more than 20 weeks.
The four-month trial said that Watson and Pope, who blamed each other from the witness box, were “accomplices of the crime” and continued to live together for several months after Kemarni’s death.
Juries found the youngster dead of his abdominal wounds on the afternoon of June 5, 2018, after his ribcage was “crushed” at the couple’s two-bedroom apartment in West Bromwich , caused by Pope.
But also among the fatal injuries to Kemarni’s body were four broken ribs that pathologists believe had been caused in the four weeks before he was killed at his home on Beaconview Road, West Bromwich.
Pope, who was jailed for four months in 2011 for the brutal attack of a young mother on a London bus, has claimed in court that he did not see or hear the deadly attack. for Kemarni.
The former warehouse worker had a criminal record for theft and possession of heroin with intent to supply, and was found with a cocaine “rock” concealed in his ass when he was arrested for murder last month. 3 year 2021.
Watson, said to have a “zero to 100” temperament, became enraged when presented with the evidence, blaming Pope and claiming she only lived with him after her son’s death because she suspected medical evidence.
During the trial, it was reported that she had bought marijuana and spent money on driving lessons when Kemarni lost her place in kindergarten due to lack of money.
Expert witnesses said the youngster was in great pain from his serious injuries when, hours before being beaten to death, Watson was taken by Watson to a pedestrian medical center, where she said told a nurse that her son was sick, with a high temperature. and do not eat.
Notes from the visit showed that Kemarni, who was given medication for a suspected stomach illness, had been vomiting for five days and was “not his normal self”.
Opening the case at the start of the trial, prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said: “The autopsy showed that Kemarni was severely injured both that day and on previous occasions.
“The injuries were obvious both externally and internally when the autopsy was conducted.
“Among those injuries were multiple fractures in his skeleton, some of which could have been subjected to forces similar to a road traffic accident or contusion.
“Both recent and non-recent injuries were found. There were multiple fractures on both the left and right sides of his ribcage, which can be historically counted hours and weeks before his death.
“At least four separate events have caused the fracture. These include angular fractures, line fractures, partial fractures, and complete transverse fractures. “
Internal bruises and lacerations were also described as extensive, including injuries to Kemarni’s liver and colon.
Mr Badenoch added: “It was a tear in the mesentery that eventually killed him because the structures inside his abdomen were pressed against his spine with force.
“In short, he died of abdominal trauma, most likely from a blow.”
During testing, it was discovered that an electrical cord was used to “lock” a bedroom door in the apartment.
Jurors were also shown a photo of Kemarni with an injured right eye, as well as one that showed him eating near a clump of his own hair, which Watson alleges he had cut off.
After the jury heard evidence from both defendants, family members, a kindergarten teacher and a social worker, Mr. Badenoch used his closing remarks to describe the murder. human is the brutal act of killing a completely defenseless victim.
He told the court: “The prosecution is that Kemarni suffered a list of horrific injuries in the weeks before his death – caused by extreme severity related to a car crash.
“He was also marked and scarred in dozens of separate areas, including grip injuries he had faced in his young life, when he was learning to walk and speak. .
“That was Kemarni’s life in his final weeks – as his mother spent the £25 needed for his ongoing nursery schooling to learn to drive and take drugs.”
It was Kemarni’s body that spoke loudest, most clearly, in this courtroom
Watson and Pope provided silence and lies in court and refused to say what they did to a child “full of character”, Mr Badenoch said.
The prosecutor added that the couple gave no explanation for the injuries found on Kemarni’s head, mouth, neck, arms, chest, abdomen, back and legs, except for related accidents. to the wheel and door frame.
Mr Badenoch said of Kemarni: “Even though he lost his life in the most horrible way, he still has a say in this courtroom.
“He is also the witness in this courtroom, the most important witness – the silent witness.
“It was Kemarni’s body that spoke loudest, most clearly, in this courtroom.
“His body was squeezed, crushed and lifeless, his lack of oxygen couldn’t lie. This is something that his mother and the momentary Nathaniel Pope have sought to discredit, change views, and silence.”
Pope, of Wolverhampton, and Watson, of Handsworth, Birmingham, were also found guilty of child cruelty against Kemarni between May 1 and June 5, 2018, in relation to broken ribs and abdominal trauma before injured.
They were also convicted separately of two counts of child cruelty in relation to other children.
Pope and Watson will be sentenced on May 23.