Serious case review reveals key findings into death of Kemarni Watson Darby

A review into the death of Kemarni Watson Darby has found there were no missed opportunities to intervene and prevent his death.

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

The three-year-old died after suffering abdominal injuries.

Following Kemarni’s death in 2018, an independent review was commissioned by the then Sandwell Safeguarding Children Board

The review has also provided recommendations for partner organisations in the future.

These included ensuring agencies are aware of the responsibilities to apply thresholds correctly and that partner organisations need to include the voice of the child when recording information.

Nathaniel Pope was jailed for a minimum of 24 years and the toddler's mother Alicia Watson was sentenced to 11 years

Lesley Hagger, Chair of the Sandwell Children’s Safeguarding Partnership, said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with all those who knew and loved Kemarni.

“Partners in Sandwell always look at what we can learn from sad cases like this and where we can identify areas for learning and improvement.

“The review did provide some learning from this case and I can confirm this has already been shared with professionals and implemented by agencies.

“This learning was around training for agencies regarding the thresholds for Early Help for families, promotion of funded nursery provision and childcare, and the need to better reflect the ‘voice of the child’ in records.

“As partners, we are fully committed to doing everything we can to protect children.

“Kemarni and family members did have contact with a number of services across the partnership. Kemarni himself had contact with ‘universal services’ – being those services we would expect any young child to have contact with.

“The independent review has concluded that there were no missed opportunities for professionals to intervene and prevent his death.

“There were no identified safeguarding concerns regarding Kemarni prior to his death in 2018, and there was no children’s social care involvement directly with him.

“Partners keep safeguarding training under constant review and there has been a process of continuous learning since 2018, including taking into account risks and challenges that emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic."

What happened to Kemarni Watson Darby?

Kemarni Watson Darby died after suffering abdominal injuries.

Some of the toddlers injuries were described in court as "horrendous" car-crash-like injuries - including multiple fractures to his rib cage, and bruising all over his body. 

Around five hours after Kemarni’s mother made an emotional 999 call to the ambulance service, she had been arrested by police.

Her boyfriend at the time, who it’s claimed had just tried to save Kemarni’s life, was also arrested.  

His mother Alicia Watson, 30, was found guilty of causing or allowing the death of her son, and her partner Nathaniel Pope, 31, was convicted of his murder.