Mum ‘recorded dead son being abused’ while trying to catch boyfriend cheating
A mum accused of killing her two-year-old son accidentally recorded her co-defendant boyfriend allegedly abusing the boy when trying to catch him cheating, a court has heard.
Phylesia Shirley, 24, is said to have secretly recorded then-partner Kemar Brown, 28, in her one-bedroom flat in Thornton Heath, south London, to see if he was secretly talking to other women.
The court heard the recordings were found by police investigating the death of her non-verbal son, Kyrell Matthews, and allegedly contain evidence of the toddler being beaten, Brown telling him to "shut up", and the boy then crying and screaming.
The "harrowing" audio was played to jurors.
Kyrell died at his mum's flat on October 20, 2019. He had suffered an array of injuries including a 1.6in (4cm) wide cut to his liver and 41 rib fractures.
Both Shirley and Brown – who was not the boy's father – deny both murder and causing him any harm.
Speaking at the Old Bailey today, prosecutor Edward Brown QC said that the recordings offered a glimpse into alleged abuse taking place in the months leading up to Kyrell's death.
He told jurors: “It makes for harrowing listening, because, say the prosecution, you will hear Kemar Brown hitting that child again and again on different days, and you will hear Kyrell crying and screaming as a result.”
In one clip, it was claimed that “slapping sounds” and “hitting noises” could be heard, with Kyrell growing increasingly distressed, before Brown can be heard saying "shut up".
Brown admitted that it was his voice that was heard.
The prosecution then alleged that Shirley could be heard asking: "What did he do?"
Brown is said to have replied: "He got up."
The prosecutor said: “Plainly, she [Shirley] has seen distress at the very least, expecting punishment of Kyrell having taken place by Kemar Brown.
“It is plain, say the prosecution, what you can hear.”
Jurors were told, in the days before he died, Kyrell was apparently “reluctant to go back into his mother’s flat” having spent the day elsewhere.
Jurors heard that the toddler was in the full-time care of his mother, then aged 21.
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The defendants both claimed that they left the flat on the day Kyrell died. Shirley's account was corroborated by CCTV.
After apparently coming home to find Kyrell "floppy", Shirley said she called the NHS’s non-emergency 111 number.
Ambulance crews arrived within 12 minutes but couldn't resuscitate him.
Prosecutor Mr Brown said: “This all happened behind closed doors, so to speak.
“What was found was a section on Phylesia Shirley’s phone that contained a number of recordings.
“It appears that Phylesia Shirley had taken to setting her phone up to record what might or might not be going on in the flat when she was out, or when she was at least not within earshot.
"It appears that she was checking up on Mr Brown to see if he was contacting other women."
Brown also denies two further charges – causing or allowing death, and causing or allowing serious physical harm to a child.
Shirley has admitted allowing the death and allowing serious physical harm to a child.
The trial continues.
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