Mum and partner guilty of killing Alfie Steele
A mother and her partner have been convicted for their part in the death of a nine-year-old boy who died after being subjected to a campaign of abuse and cruelty.
Carla Scott, 35, of Vashon Drive, Droitwich was convicted of the manslaughter of Alfie Steele today (13 June 2023) at Coventry Crown Court following a five-week trial. Her partner Dirk Howell, 41, of Princip Street, Birmingham, was convicted of Alfie’s murder.
Alfie was killed at his family home on 18 February 2021 after he had been beaten and deliberately put in a cold bath as punishment.
When emergency services arrived at the property, they found his lifeless body on the bedroom floor with a severely cold body temperature of 23C and over 50 injuries all over his body.
Scott repeatedly lied to police and emergency services that Alfie fell asleep and hit his head in the bath. However, the harrowing evidence found that Alfie had suffered horrific ongoing abuse at their hands which ultimately led to his death.
Scott was captured on police body worn camera lying to officers about Howell being at her home at the time Alfie was injured. She also told the police that she had last seen him a couple of days previously. But Howell was seen running away from her home towards the train station and he was later arrested at Droitwich Railway Station as he attempted to board a train.
The court heard that Scott and Howell regularly beat Alfie with belts and heavy-duty flip flops, dunked him in cold baths while naked, and made him stand outside in the middle of the night with cold water thrown over him.
The court also heard medical evidence which rejected the defence claims that Alfie’s death was the result of an epileptic seizure.
Despite a social services plan barring Howell from staying overnight at her home to protect Alfie, Scott frequently flouted this rule and allowed Howell to regularly stay over.
Neighbours also witnessed Howell aggressively shouting and swearing at Alfie in the street while Scott stood by and let it happen.
The CPS proved that Scott’s account of what happened to Alfie was untrue and that her first thought was to hide what had really happened to him and to protect Howell from becoming a suspect.
Following their arrests, the defendants were interviewed under caution where they both denied charges of murder, manslaughter, causing or allowing the death of Alfie and child cruelty offences towards Alfie
Today, a jury saw through their lies and convicted them for their role in Alfie’s death. Dirk Howell had previously admitted the child cruelty charges which Carla Scott denied, but the jury found her guilty of those charges. Howell was found guilty of Alfie’s murder and Scott was found guilty of manslaughter. She was acquitted of murder.
Paul Reid of the CPS said: “As a mother, Carla Scott tragically put her loyalty to her partner above her duty to protect her child. It is a tragedy that Alfie’s life was cruelly taken away by the people who were supposed to love and care for him.
“We hope today’s verdict is a reminder that child abuse will not be tolerated, and that those who choose abuse over compassion can expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“Our thoughts are with Alfie’s family at this time.”
The defendants will be sentenced on 15 June 2023.
Notes to editors
- Paul Reid is a District Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands.