CCTV footage shows the final hours of a little girl’s life before she was killed by her ‘uncaring’ mother and her boyfriend.
Three-year-old Kaylee-Jayde Priest was found dead at the West Midlands flat she lived at with mum Nicola Priest on August 9, last year.
Kaylee, who was described as a ‘happy child’, died from serious chest and abdominal injuries, heard Birmingham Crown Court.
Priest, 23, dialled 999 but a jury convicted her – along with then-boyfriend 22-year-old Callum Redfern – after hearing the little girl was ‘dead before the call was made’.
The prosecution said her death was caused by a ‘sustained’ and ‘intentional assault’ while the couple were alone with Kaylee.
Priest and Redfern, who were in a ‘close sexual relationship’, tried to blame each other for Kaylee’s death during the trial.
But both were today convicted of her manslaughter after being unanimously cleared of murder.
Medical examinations later showed Kaylee had also suffered historical injuries including broken ribs, lower leg fractures and a broken sternum.
Priest was also found guilty of cruelty to a child relating to the injuries – but Redfern was cleared of that charge.
Disturbing text messages exchanged between the then-couple just days before Kaylee’s death showed Priest saying she had hit the little girl.
In a text on July 24, 2020, Priest told Redfern: ‘I’m gonna kill her… because she keeps leaving the living room or going in the kitchen, so I’ve paled her one and smacked her for shitting in her nappy.’
Redfern replied: ‘Good – give her one from me.’
Priest said: ‘I will, babe.’
Three days later, Redfern messaged Priest saying: ‘I’m going to keep the little brat away from me… sick of your spunking daughter.’
Prosecutors said the messages painted a vivid picture of the ‘uncaring attitude from Priest and Redfern towards Kaylee’.
CCTV footage, played in court, showed the hours leading to Kaylee’s fatal collapse.
She and her mother are seen in the video using a lift at the block of flats where they lived in Kingshurst House, Solihull.
The footage shows Priest’s total disinterest in her daughter by repeatedly checking her reflection in the mirror and scrolling through her phone, while Kaylee periodically gazed up at her mum’s face.
At no point in the footage was there any physical contact between the pair, with Priest neglecting to reach out to hold her daughter’s hand.
Since Priest moved in to the flat in mid-2019, neighbours said she would hit Kaylee around the head and refer to her as a ‘f****** brat’ with the little girl heard crying ‘in a fearful tone’.
On one occasion, neighbours in a flat below recalled hearing a bang above and then Kaylee crying, before allegedly hearing Priest say: ‘I’ll just say she fell off the bed.’
The same residents claimed they noticed that ‘when Kaylee cried, the response appeared to be to drown out her crying with music’.
In a statement released through police after the verdicts, Kaylee’s grandmother Debbie Windmill said the impact of her death would live with her for the rest of her life.
Ms Windmill said: ‘I could never stop staring at the smile on her beautiful face.
‘I loved every moment watching her develop to nearly school age; preparing to buy my first grandchild her pre-school uniform was something that filled me with such happiness.
‘I couldn’t wait to see her in it, but this opportunity was stolen from me in the most brutal of ways.
‘Everybody deserves the gift of life. Kaylee-Jayde deserved to show the world who she could have been and what greatness she could have brought to this world.
‘Nanny will forever hold you in her heart.’
Detective Inspector Adam Jobson, said: ‘This is a really horrific set of circumstances and I cannot imagine for one second what Kaylee-Jayde’s family must be going through, they’ve lost their three-year-old family member at the hands of her own mother and Nicky Priest’s boyfriend, Callum.
‘It is a grim picture. I don’t think, sadly, we will ever fully know what has happened, we’ll never get that full picture, both have not admitted their own responsibility.
‘One thing is clear, Nicky Priest has failed her daughter, she’s failed to protect her and she should be – being a mother to that little girl – the one person who should have been able to protect her.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]
For more stories like this, check our news page.