Murder-accused mother denies harming three-year-old son Kemarni Watson Darby

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A mother accused of murdering her three-year-old son has told a jury in Birmingham she never harmed him and initially thought he had died because of an illness.

Alicia Watson told jurors she took Kemarni Watson Darby to be checked over by a nurse hours before his death, telling jurors she "genuinely thought he was just sick".

Prosecutors allege Kemarni, who died after suffering abdominal injuries, was fatally assaulted at the flat where he lived with Watson and her partner Nathaniel Pope, having been subjected to previous abuse.

Pope, 32, told Birmingham Crown Court last month that he did not see or hear the assault that killed Kemarni and was not in the room when the youngster was assaulted in June 2018, at his home in West Bromwich, West Midlands.

Watson, of Handsworth, Birmingham, and Pope, of Wolverhampton, both deny murder and child cruelty charges.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, 30-year-old Watson said she found Kemarni unresponsive after returning home at about 3.45pm on June 5 2018.

Answering questions put to her by defence QC Charles Sherrard, Watson said Kemarni was seen by a nurse for about 15 minutes at about noon on June 5.

She told jurors: "I sat him on my lap and I answered all her questions and she checked his stomach."

Watson added the nurse had checked Kemarni’s ears, throat and chest, and said his temperature was normal.

After Kemarni told the nurse he did not have tummy pain, Watson said, she was given a prescription for rehydration medicine, which she collected from a chemist.

Mr Sherrard asked Watson: “Is there anything during the course of the examination that gave you any indication that Kemarni was in pain?”

Watson replied: “No.”

The child’s mother told the court there was nothing in the examination that “gave a hint” of the fractured ribs Kemarni was found to have suffered.

After a visit to McDonald’s, Watson took Kemarni home, where he fell asleep on a sofa before she left their flat, returning at around 3.45pm while on the phone to her sister.

The trial is taking place at Birmingham Crown Court

Watson said: “I went straight to check on Kemarni. He was lying on the settee… staring into space.”

After being told to dial 999 by her sister, Watson said, she saw Pope enter the room and he was told by the operator to do rescue breaths.

Kemarni was taken to hospital in an ambulance, where Watson was told shortly after 5pm that nothing could be done to save her son.

By 9.19pm, the jury was told, Watson had been arrested by police.

“I was a mess,” she told the court. “I couldn’t stop crying and I was confused at what had happened.”

Insisting she had never done anything to harm her son, Watson added: “I genuinely thought he was just sick, nothing more.”

She said of Pope: “I had just seen him try to save my child. I didn’t think at all for a second that he had done anything that had caused Kemarni’s death.”

The trial continues.