Mum and partner jailed over death of three-year-old Kemarni Watson Darby

  • Callum Watkinson reports on what the judge said to the pair at Birmingham Crown Court

Warning: This article contains content that readers may find upsetting.

A man who killed his girlfriend's three-year-old son by subjecting him to "car-crash-like injuries" has been jailed for life.

Kemarni Watson Darby was found lifeless at his home on Beacon View Road in West Bromwich, West Midlands, on June 5, 2018.

Nathaniel Pope, 31, who was convicted of the boy's murder, has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 24 years for killing him.

He got eight months for one child cruelty count, and six months each for two others.

These will run concurrently to the murder sentence.

Nathaniel Pope Credit: West Midlands Police

His mother Alicia Watson, 30, who was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of her son, was today jailed for 11 years at Birmingham Crown Court.

Alicia Watson, Kemarni's mother Credit: West Midlands Police

What were his injuries?

Kemarni died after suffering abdominal injuries at the two-bedroom flat where he lived with the couple.

Kemarni Watson Darby

Prosecutors alleged he died after a "vicious, forceful assault" which split his abdomen and caused a massive internal bleed.

The three-year-old had what were described in court as "horrendous" car-crash-like injuries - including multiple fractures to his rib cage, and bruising all over his body. 

His mum's 999 call

Alicia Watson called for help from her flat in Stanton House after finding her son unresponsive while on the phone to a family member, who advised her to call 999.

Her call was played in court where can be heard repeatedly telling the operator "he's three years old" and "he's not responding" before describing his breathing as "quiet."

What was Kemarni's life like?

A witness during the trial claimed Pope would lock Kemarni in a room.

The witness, who can't be named for legal reasons, described how Pope would take an electrical wire and turn it around the door handle.

Credit: West Midlands Police

Kemarni would then bang on the door begging to be let out. Pope would do nothing.

The witness also said Kemarni was a naughty child and that Watson would slap him.

These images show the flat at Stanton House in West Bromwich where Kemarni spent his final days.

Credit: West Midlands Police
Credit: West Midlands Police
Credit: West Midlands Police

On the day of his death, CCTV captured Kemarni and his mother buying lunch at McDonald's, the footage showing the little boy lagging behind his mother as they return home.

Who was Kemarni's killer, Nathaniel Pope?

Nathaniel Pope Credit: West Midlands Police

Pope was a violent drug-user who inflicted more than 20 rib fractures on Kemarni during weeks of beatings.

Sentencing Pope, Mrs Justice Tipples said he knew the little boy was in extreme distress and pain, yet he left him to bleed to death.

She said she was sure Pope was under the influence of cannabis when he killed the three-year-old.The judge told Pope: “The final assault involved multiple blows to his chest, limbs and abdomen from fists, kicking or with an object.“This was a severe and sustained assault which will have caused extreme distress and pain and that would have been obvious to you.“Kemarni was not your son and he did not mean anything to you. You saw him as a nuisance who got in the way of your relationship.”