UPDATED WITH SENTENCE: New partner found guilty of killing Kemarni Darby-Watson, mother guilty of causing or allowing his death
Originally published on 12 April 2022
UPDATE: Nathaniel Pope, 32, of Evans Street, Wolverhampton, has been jailed for life today with a minimum term of 24 years for the murder and child cruelty of Kemarni Darby-Watson at Birmingham Crown Court.
Kemarni’s mother, Alicia Watson, 31, of Raglan Road, Handsworth was jailed for 11 years for causing or allowing Kemarni’s death and of earlier child cruelty offences against him and his elder siblings.
A mother’s new boyfriend has been convicted of the murder of a three-year-old boy who died after suffering fatal injuries from a series of violent blows.
His mother was cleared of murder but found guilty of causing or allowing the death of Kemarni and of previous cruelty towards him and his elder siblings.
Nathaniel Pope, 32, of Evans Street, Wolverhampton, was convicted today 12th April 2022 of murder and child cruelty at Birmingham Crown Court following a trial that lasted four months. Alicia Watson, 30, of Raglan Road, Handsworth was convicted of causing or allowing Kemarni’s death and of earlier child cruelty offences against him and his elder siblings.
The court heard that on 5 June 2018, while in the care of Watson and Pope, Kemarni Darby-Watson was found lifeless by paramedics in a flat in West Bromwich.
He had suffered a vicious assault at the hands of Pope which split his abdomen and caused massive internal bleeding that killed him.
Post-mortem examinations revealed that he had been subjected to a series of serious assaults in the weeks before his death, suffering horrendous injuries caused by the kind of extreme forces which are usually associated with a car crash or a fall from height. During his short life he was marked and scarred in dozens of separate areas including laceration to the mesentery, multiple rib fractures and obvious grip injuries from rough handling.
Watson and Pope were repeatedly violent and cruel to Kemarni. The court found, however, that Pope was responsible for the final sustained attack that ultimately killed him.
The case was investigated meticulously and the prosecution were able to rely on CCTV footage, mobile phone recordings, witness testimony, and complex medical evidence in order to build a strong and compelling case against the pair.
Giovanni D’Alessandro of the CPS said: “This was a deeply disturbing case of two people who were supposed to be protecting a defenceless three-year-old boy but instead subjected him to cruelty and repeated bouts of violence. It’s incomprehensible that little Kemarni was subjected to such heinous acts of brutality in his final days, causing him intense and ongoing pain and distress before ultimately killing him. Rather than take responsibility for their actions, both Watson and Pope repeatedly lied and sought only to blame one another for all of these crimes.
“My thoughts are with the remaining members of Kemarni’s family. Nothing can bring him back, nor do I imagine that this conviction will bring comfort to those that knew and loved him. What I do hope is that the fact that his killer has been brought to justice and that he faces a lengthy prison sentence will assist them in coping with their grief and loss.”