Mum and boyfriend guilty of killing boy, 2, who was left with 41 rib fractures

Kyrell Matthews went into cardiac arrest being “beaten to death” as Phylesia Shirley, 24, and her then-boyfriend Kemar Brown are found guilty over his death at the Old Bailey

Kyrell Matthews died in October 2021 and was found to have 41 rib fractures as well as internal bleeding and a four centimeter cut to his liver

A mum and her boyfriend who accidentally recorded themselves abusing her two-year-old son have been found guilty of killing him.

Little Kyrell Matthews died in October 2019 after he went into cardiac arrest at his home in Thornton Heath, south London.

The attack left him with 41 rib fractures and the boy, who was non-verbal, was also discovered to have internal bleeding and a four centimeter cut to his liver.

Kemar Brown has been found guilty of murder while the tot’s mother, Phylesia Shirley, has been found not guilty of murder by a jury at the Old Bailey, but guilty of manslaughter.

The cruel pair sat with blank expressions on their faces in the dock as they were handed their convictions.

They sat with blank expressions on their faces as they were handed their convictions



Judge Mark Lucraft QC told them: “The court had to listen to some harrowing recordings that you made on your phone of the abuse carried out on your young boy.

“You should be utterly ashamed of what you have done.”

Shirley, 24, had admitted allowing the death and allowing serious physical harm to a child but had denied murder, whilst her then-boyfriend Brown, 28, had denied all three charges.

Prosecutors say Kyrell was repeatedly struck over several weeks, with secret audio recordings capturing the violence.

Kemar Brown has been found guilty of murder


Met Police)

Phylesia Shirley has been found not guilty of murder – but guilty of manslaughter


Met Police)

The court was shown heartbreaking new footage, Kyrell can be seen laughing and smiling at the camera just weeks before his death.

Another video shows him in his mother’s arms on his birthday as she blows out candles on a cake. Shirley can be seen smiling at him.

The court had also heard that whilst Shirley was distressed and “hysterical” when Kyrell was declared dead, Brown, who was not the child’s father, remained calm and disengaged throughout.

Prosecutor Edward Brown QC told jurors at the Old Bailey: “Kyrell had his ribs crushed or broken by blows within the four weeks before October 20.

“At least one of the defendants plainly affected a significant number of injuries in at least five separate incidents in the four weeks leading up to… Kyrell’s death.

Kyrell had suffered 39 rib fractures on five separate occasions in the four weeks leading up to his death



“The pain and distress in those four weeks when he was abused was brought vividly to the fore by those harrowing recordings.

“On October 20, his ribs were crushed once more – it killed him.”

Police later found the secret audio files on Shirley’s mobile phone, which were apparent attempts of the mum trying to catch Brown being unfaithful, but inadvertently captured the abuse, the prosecution said.

They included multiple audio files where it appeared Kyrell was hit repeatedly, with Brown saying “shut up”, causing the toddler to cry and scream.

Prosecutors say on another occasion that Brown affected several blows on the little boy before telling him: “You have to ruin the fun.”

Paramedics rushed to the scene and failed to find a heartbeat, telling the couple that Kyrell was “clinically dead”.

He was taken to Croydon University Hospital but despite “extensive efforts” by the medical staff, he was officially pronounced dead at 4.15pm.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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