Kyrell Matthew, two, had 41 rib fractures when he was found. A video shows him singing happy birthday with his mum from him Phylesia Shirley, who was found guilty of manslaughter
A new video shows a toddler laughing and smiling in his mother’s arms weeks before he was killed by her and her boyfriend.
Kyrell Matthews, two, was discovered with 41 rib fractures and internal bleeding.
His mum Phylesia Shirley, 24, was convicted of a manslaughter and her boyfriend Kemar Brown was found guilty of his murder.
In the footage before his death, Kyrell of Thornton Heath, London, can be seen singing happy birthday together with his mum.
The toddler celebrated his second birthday five weeks before he was murdered, and is giggling on his mum’s hip as she sings to him.
Another video shows the youngster in his pajamas on the sofa, as his mum films him laughing and smiling.
The playful scene is a stark contrast to the horrific scene that was met by paramedics who desperately tried to save his life after he went into cardiac arrest on October 20, 2019.
Shirley made a 111 call after her son fell unconscious and his body became “floppy”.
In what prosecutor Edmund Brown QC described as a “relatively calm” tone, she told the NHS call handler: “Basically Kyrell has been acting really funny.
“His chest is like coming out like he can’t breathe, he’s not responding properly.
“He’ll be laying down and he’ll lash out, he looks like he’s not here basically. His eyes of him are rolling back.
Shirley later became increasingly distressed as she was advised to give CPR and was told an ambulance unit was on its way.
Paramedics arrived at the scene 12 minutes after the initial call, but despite their best efforts to save the toddler, they were unable to maintain a heartbeat.
Kyrell was tragically pronounced dead at the scene.
A post-mortem examination found a “catalogue of very significant additional injuries” he had suffered, including 41 rib fractures, internal bleeding and a lacerated liver.
Whilst five of the broken ribs were attributed to resuscitation efforts, it was determined that his injuries would have been sustained on at least five occasions in the four weeks leading up to his death.
Mr Brown, 28, told jurors: “What you will hear of amounts to no less than a determined pattern of repeated and significant assaults – on a completely defenseless and young child.
“And it will be no surprise that the effect of these injuries would have been real pain, not only on their infliction, of course, but also pain and discomfort after and following each violent episode.”
Brown and Shirley couple were arrested on October 31 and charged with his murder, with both denying the charges.
Brown, who is not Kyrell’s father, said that he had gone to the shops that morning, and had returned to find the two-year-old unconscious.
He said that they had tried to feed him “cornflakes, juice and sweets to help him wake up”, and that his mum had then decided to call the emergency services.
However, investigating officers were to make a shocking discovery as it emerged that hours of the abuse had been captured on Shirley’s mobile phone.
In an attempt to see if her boyfriend was cheating on her, she had secretly recorded him whilst she was out of the flat.
The harrowing audio footage was played to jurors, who could hear Brown repeatedly telling the toddler to “shut up”, followed by slapping and hitting noises.
In a recording taken from July 2019, Brown can be heard telling Kyrell “No more crying, stop, stop crying”, and “What are you crying for?”.
After this, a slapping noise can be heard above Kyrell’s distressed wailing, followed by Brown mocking the child’s crying.
In one audio recording, it is believed that Kyrell was hit around seven or eight times in the space of 10 seconds.
His mum can also be heard in the background of a few recordings, as she too tells Kyrell to “shut up” when he is in distress.
During the initial playing of the videos, Shirley was escorted from the court by a police officer.
In addition to this, Kyrell’s grandparents revealed that after he visited their home in September 2019, he was reluctant to return to his mum’s flat.
He had been “much quieter than usual” and was unable to settle.
At the time of Kyrell’s death, his mum had been in a relationship with Brown for approximately a year, and despite having separate addresses, he was regularly at the flat.
Neither were employed and Kyrell, who was non-verbal, was not registered at a nursery, therefore he was constantly in contact with the couple.
Both denied his murder, but Shirley pleaded guilty to allowing the death of a child and allowing physical harm to be caused to a child.
Her defense lawyer, Louise Sweet QC, had made it clear throughout the trial that she rejected the term “causing”.
Jurors at the Old Bailey had seen evidence from forensic pathologist Dr Evan Matshes who said that Shirley should not have been told by NHS 111 staff to administer two-handed CPR to her son.
Dr Matshes said he could not rule out that those actions had caused the broken ribs.
Brown’s lawyer Mark McDonald asked the jury to “keep an open mind” and it was his case that the CPR administered to Kyrell that resulted in his death, and not the alleged abuse he suffered at home.
Brown was found guilty of all three charges, including murder, whereas Shirley was found guilty of manslaughter by a jury at the Old Bailey.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.