This is the grotty, cramped flat where a three-year-old child was brutally beaten to death. Kemarni Watson Darby was found lifeless at the flat in June 2018.
He had been repeatedly assaulted by his mother’s then partner Nathaniel Pope before he died of painful internal injuries. A court heard his injuries from him would have required force similar to that caused by a road traffic collision or being stamped on with a ‘shod foot’.
Pictures now released by police in the West Midlands show the chaotic living conditions the young endured in the filthy two-bedroom flat in West Bromwich. They include snapped electrical cables being used to lock Kemarni in a room as he banged on the door and pleaded to let out.
It comes as Pope was unanimously convicted of murdering Kemarni by jurors and now faces life behind bars. Kemarni’s mum Alicia Watson was acquitted of murder but convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child, Birmingham Live reports.
They were both also unanimously convicted of a multiple counts of child cruelty. The defendants will be sentenced on May 23.
The murder trial at Birmingham Crown Court heard how Pope would trap Kemarni in a room at the flat until the child ‘calmed down’.
He would use an electrical wire snapped in half to stop the door from opening. A witness – who cannot be named for legal reasons – said in an interview played to jurors: “Pope used to get the wire and turn it around the door handle. It was like some electrical wire that was snapped off. He would wrap it around the door handle.
“Kemarni would just bang on the door and try and get out. [Pope] would just do nothing.” The images show a littered living room with tissue and wrappings scattered across the floor, along with tattered carpet lifting from the ground.
There also appears to be a crumpled prescription paper bag, along with plastic tubes and medication packaging dumped on a table. Empty baby bottles stand next to a heavily-soiled hob in the family’s West Bromwich property.
A McDonald’s bag and a plate of food has been ditched on top of an unplugged microwave, while empty drinks bottles fill the worktop. A washing machine – which has a crisp packet, ashtrays and cups on top of it – also blocks an overflowing cupboard in the narrow kitchen.
Piles of children’s clothes have been thrown across an unmade bed in one of the bedroom’s at the Stanton House flat. A drawer appears to be missing from a bedroom cabinet, while paint can be seen chipping off the walls.
Rubbish has been shoved into a tiny corner of the room, while pairs of shoes lay messy on the floor. Watson, 30, of Radnor Road, Handsworth, and Pope, 31, of Evans Street, Wolverhampton, had denied murder and multiple child cruelty charges.
Jurors returned their verdicts after a trial which started last December and stretched over 20 weeks. The young boy was left with a ‘plethora’ of severe injuries including multiple fractures to his rib cage, as well as wounds to his liver and colon. Bruising was uncovered on his lungs, head, mouth, neck, arms, chest, abdomen, back and legs.
The ‘catalogue’ of injuries also included scars to the eyes, cheeks, knees and limbs, prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said. Jurors were told ‘normal’ Kemarni’s extensive injuries could not be blamed on the ‘usual rough and tumble bruising on a child’.
In his opening to the court, Mr Badenoch said: “The multiple fractures to his skeletal frame and internal damage to his body structures revealed that he was subject to assaults and mistreatment.
It follows that Kemarni had been the subject of repeated and, in all probability, sustained assaults. “Obviously, they would have been extremely painful and as a three-year-old he would have been in no position, given his size, to offer any form of defense.
“Those responsible for doing it would have known that it was extremely painful, not least because of the amount of force necessary to inflict these injuries.
“This is, therefore, not a case in which an accident can play any part. Pope and Watson were responsible for his care and they lived together in a small flat.
“The prosecution case is that they singularly failed in that respect, they were cruel to him and ultimately killed him.” Both defendants took to the witness box during their trial to protest their innocence.”
Pope told jurors he had been ‘wrongly accused’ of murdering young Kemarni and claimed there was nothing he could have done to ‘save’ the boy.
He denied he ‘lost it’ and beat the youngster to ‘shut him up’ in the family’s home on the day of Kemarni’s death. m Watson said she loved her son and insisted she never harmed the toddler or inflicted any ‘horrific’ injuries upon him. Instead, she branded Pope a ‘cold-hearted liar’ and said he fatally injured the tot when she left the pair together at her Black Country flat.
Detective Inspector James Mahon, who led the investigation, said: “It’s been a horrific case for everyone involved and I’d like to extend my thanks to the jury, who have engaged and considered everything put before them, they are ordinary members of the public who have had to listen to the details of this case for over 10 weeks.
“Kemarni was so young and would not have been able to explain what was happening, or the pain that he was feeling to those that cared for him.
It’s absolutely awful that the two people who were supposed to look after him the most were those that caused injury, and in the end his death. I hope that the conviction of both Pope and Watson today at least gives Kemarni’s loved ones some form of closure .”