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'Defenceless' toddler, 3, died from 'horrendous' car-crash-like injuries and 'vicious' assault

A 'defenceless' toddler died from a 'catalogue' of 'horrendous' injuries akin to those sustained in a car accident, a court has heard, as his mother and her partner go on trial for his murder.

Kemarni Watson Darby, three, suffered alleged repeated assaults and was found 'lifeless' by paramedics on June 5, 2018 at a flat in West Bromwich, Sandwell.

Prosecutors at Birmingham Crown Court told the court the toddler had suffered a 'vicious forceful assault' resulting in 'multiple fractures to his skeleton', which were likened to the result of a 'road traffic accident'.

The court heard that the youngster suffered 'horrendous injuries' in the months leading up to his death.

'Defenceless' toddler Kemarni Watson Darby (pictured), three, suffered alleged repeated assaults and was found 'lifeless' by paramedics on June 5, 2018 at a flat in West Bromwich, Sandwell

His mother Alicia Watson, 30, of Raglan Road, Handsworth, and Nathaniel Pope, 31, of Evans Street, Wolverhampton - who was her partner at the time - are standing trial for murder at Birmingham Crown Court.

Both deny murder and multiple child cruelty charges.

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC told the court that the boy's injuries could not be attributed to the 'usual rough and tumble bruising on a child' and some injuries 'would have required stamping on his body, if it were laying upwards with a shod foot'.

He added that the injuries sustained caused a 'massive' internal bleed, which killed him. 

Mr Badenoch said: 'It was a brutal act perpetrated on a wholly defenceless three-year-old.

'The degree of force required to cause these injuries would have resulted in extreme pain and fear. Throughout the assault, Kemarni would have been extremely distressed and fearful.

'Kemarni would not have been capable of walking normally or climbing stairs without showing distress. Any adult caring for Kemarni would have been aware of it.'   

The court was told how family members discovered bruising on the child's body in the weeks leading up to his death, but they were blamed on Kemarni 'fighting' with other children, Birmingham Live reports.          

Opening the case yesterday, Mr Badenoch said: 'Urgent medical assistance was called at 3.49pm to attend to Kemarni at a two-bed flat in West Bromwich. On arrival, paramedics, arriving quickly, found Kemarni to be lifeless.

'At the time, Watson was following instruction to conduct CPR and she was noted to be extremely distressed.

'The man that was present in the flat, sitting in a chair close to Kemarni, did not say or do much. Kermani Watson Darby who died in suspicious circumstances

'The efforts to save Kemarni's life proved fruitless and his death was confirmed at 5.05pm that same afternoon.'

Brutal injuries suffered by Kemarni included multiple fractures to his rib cage, as well as wounds to his liver and colon.

Kemarni's (pictured) mother Alicia Watson, 30, of Raglan Road, Handsworth, and Nathaniel Pope, 31, of Evans Street, Wolverhampton - who was her partner at the time - are standing trial for murder at Birmingham Crown Court. They both deny murder and multiple child cruelty charges.

Bruising was uncovered on his lungs, head, mouth, neck, arms, chest, abdomen, back and legs.

The boy was also subjected to abdominal trauma which caused a fatal internal bleed, the court was told.

Mr Badenoch said: '[A pathologist] noted that Kemarni sustained horrendous injuries both that day and on earlier occasions.

'The injuries were evident both externally, so on the skin surface, and internally when a post-mortem examination was conducted.

'Amongst those injuries were multiple fractures to his skeleton, some of which would have required force akin to a road traffic accident or stamping on his body, if it were laying upwards, with a shod foot.

'There was nothing to suggest that his small frame, body structures or blood constitution, was such as to render him unusually susceptible to injuries of this kind. He was a normal, boisterous, mischievous, three-year-old boy. 

'This was not the usual rough and tumble bruising on a child in the usual way of playgrounds, bumps, and the like.'

Jurors were told the couple 'failed' to care for the youngster, who would have been unable to 'defend' himself from multiple blows thrown at him.

Mr Badenoch added: 'The multiple fractures to his skeletal frame and internal damage to his body structures revealed that he was subject to assaults and mistreatment.

'It follows that Kemarni had been the subject of repeated and, in all probability, sustained assaults.

'Obviously, they would have been extremely painful and as a three-year-old he would have been in no position, given his size, to offer any form of defence.

'Those responsible for doing it would have known that it was extremely painful, not least because of the amount of force necessary to inflict these injuries. This is, therefore, not a case in which an accident can play any part.

'Pope and Watson were responsible for his care and they lived together in a small flat.

'The prosecution case is that they singularly failed in that respect, they were cruel to him and ultimately killed him.'

The trial continues.