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Couple sentenced over toddler’s death

|News, Violent crime

A mother and her former boyfriend have been jailed for their parts in the murder of a toddler. 

Two-year-old Lola James died after a suffering a brutal, frenzied, and violent attack at her own home which left her unconscious with 101 injuries including brain damage. 

During the trial Lola's brain injuries were compared to those of car crash victims. 

Lola died in hospital on 21 July 2020, mere days after the assault at the hands of her mother’s then boyfriend in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. 

Killer Kyle Bevan, 31, was convicted of Lola’s murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 28 years at Swansea Crown Court today (25 April 2023).

His former partner, and Lola’s mother, Sinead James, 30, was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment at the same court, after being found guilty at the same trial of causing or allowing the death of a child. 

John Griffiths, from the CPS, said: “Lola was a happy and beautiful little girl that was bursting with energy. Her life had barely started when these defendants snatched it away from her. 

“Kyle Bevan described himself as Lola’s ‘step-father’ but his actions were anything but paternal. 

“He had inflicted injuries on Lola in the past, but this time his aggression led to him murdering a defenceless child in his care.

“Lola should have been safe in her own home and surrounded by people that she could trust. But instead, her mother Sinead James allowed a violent and destructive man into their lives and failed in her duty to protect Lola from harm. James was well aware that Bevan was a danger, but she willingly chose to keep him in her life.

“The prosecution case included expert testimony which tore apart Bevan’s desperate and remorseless story that Lola had been killed after being knocked down the stairs by the family dog.

“This case has truly been heart-breaking for many, but today sees justice for Lola.”

The Court heard that Lola was attacked while Bevan was alone with her.  

Phone records showed that Lola had quickly become unconscious after the assault, and Bevan had googled “my 2 year old child has just taken a bang to the head and gone all limp and snoring. What’s wrong”.

Bevan told paramedics, medical experts and police that Lola’s injuries were as a result of being knocked over by the family dog and falling downstairs. But during the trial medical experts provided evidence that the injuries sustained by Lola could not have been caused simply by falling down the stairs, but in fact, through a frenzied physical assault.

It was an hour before medical assistance was sought for Lola.

Before Bevan was arrested he tried to get his story straight, messaging his partner: “What are you going to say,” and “This is important” before James replied “What you told me”. Bevan responded: “Yeah but obviously you’ve got to get it bang on like.”

Mr Griffiths added: “Although nothing can bring Lola back, I hope these convictions and the sentences handed out by the Court today, go some way in comforting those who loved Lola. Our thoughts remain with them at this time.

“The CPS is absolutely committed to bringing violent offenders to justice and will leave no stone unturned in securing justice.”

Notes to editors

  • Kyle Bevan (DOB: 9/1/1992) is from Aberystwyth and was convicted of murder, contrary to common law.
  • Sinead James (DOB: 3/9/1992) is from Neyland and was convicted of allowing the death of a child, contrary to section 5 of the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act, 2004.
  • John Griffiths is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the CPS Cymru-Wales Complex Casework Unit. 

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