Kyrell Matthews: Mum and partner jailed for killing toddler son – BBC


A man who murdered his ex-girlfriend's two-year-old son has been jailed for life after the couple's horrific abuse was captured on secret recordings.
Kyrell Matthews died in October 2019 with 41 rib fractures and internal injuries after weeks of cruelty by Kemar Brown and Phylesia Shirley at his south London home.
Brown, 28, was convicted of murder and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years.
Shirley, 24, was found guilty of manslaughter and jailed for 13 years.
Much of the abuse was caught on audio recordings made at the property in Thornton Heath which were played to the jury.
The toddler could be heard crying and screaming on files taken from Shirley's phone, which picked up the sound of Kyrell being hit repeatedly, with Brown saying "shut up" and "you have to ruin the fun".
Another recording played during the trial at the Old Bailey caught Shirley striking her son, causing him to break down in distress.
Prosecution barrister Edward Brown QC told jurors that the mother put her relationship with Brown above her own child.
The couple, who were unemployed at the time of Kyrell's murder, were both cannabis users and are understood to have been visited by social services at least once.
"She was prepared to reject what should have been motherly care in protecting Kyrell in favour of abuse by her – his own mother – and in favour of the abuse carried out by a man she knew was abusing her child," Mr Brown told jurors.
"The truth is that his death came when once more he was abused in that flat, once more in a very similar way, causing very similar injuries, except on this occasion it was so much more serious, the abuse and the results were catastrophic."
Paying tribute to Kyrell outside court after the couple were convicted, his paternal step-grandmother Christine Ernest described the two-year-old as "the most loving little boy, always smiling".
During the trial, jurors were not told that police had been called to an earlier domestic incident but no offences were identified and Kyrell was said to have appeared "safe and well".
A passer-by had alerted officers on 17 July 2019 after hearing shouting and screaming coming from their flat, with a female voice saying: "Stop hitting my face."
It followed an attack in May 2019 when Kyrell suffered a significant injury to the side of his face and spent five days in Croydon University Hospital.
The hospital carried out an investigation and found Shirley's explanation that the little boy had fallen off a sofa and hit his head on a highchair was "plausible", police said.
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