THE PROSECUTION in the case of two people who are charged with causing the death of Haverfordwest toddler Lola James, 2, have given their opening statement to the jury.
Swansea Crown Court heard on Wednesday (Mar 8) that Lola had 101 separate surface injuries to her tiny body when she arrived at hospital.
Kyle Bevan, 31, said the injuries was a result of the family dog jumping up at Lola and knocking her down the stairs.
Within the prosecution’s opening statement, Caroline Rees KC, told the court how in the early hours of the morning of July 17, 2020, Lola received a catastrophic head injury as a result of a ‘frenzied, brutal and violent attack’.
The prosecution outlined their facts of the case.
Caroline Rees KC went on to say how on the evening of July 16, 2020, Lola’s mum, Sinead James, 30, had gone to bed and left Bevan alone with Lola.
At round midnight, James heard a thump and a cry.
James went into Lola’s bedroom and found Bevan cradling Lola where he said that she had fallen from the ladder on her bunk bed and he was comforting her.
Lola’s mother went to bed, and was not awakened again until almost 7.30am the next morning, where she made a phone call to her mother and the emergency services.
It is the prosecution’s case that during this time, Bevan not only launched a “murderous attack” on the defenceless toddler, but made efforts to “cover his tracks”.
The court was shown a number of photographs of the family home, which was dirty, messy, cluttered and extremely unkempt. All except a sparkling clean bathtub, which was not in keeping with the general state of the rest of the property.
Something the prosecution says shows an intent made by Bevan to complete a clean up operation.
The prosecution claim the timeline of events can be pieced together by evidence from Bevan’s phone.
At 4.26am on the morning of July 17, 2020, Bevan took a photograph of Lola on his mobile phone, which showed her stood up and conscious, but with red marks on her back area. It is not believed Lola had sustained the head injury at this point.
At 6.33am Bevan typed the following into an internet search bar: “My 2 year old child has just taken a bang to the head and gone all limp and snoring, what’s wrong?.”
This was followed up by a screenshot from a medical website which showed symptoms of a serious head injury and where it clearly states that emergency care must be sought immediately.
Despite this warning, Bevan still made no attempts to wake James or call for an ambulance.
Bevan went on to text his mother asking her what he should do.
Distressing videos and photos that were found on Bevan’s phone, were shown to the court.
In the photos it showed Lola laying limp, appearing unconscious and with obvious swelling and bruising to her forehead and lips.
Those photographs were taken by Bevan on his mobile phone more than an hour before an ambulance was called.
In a video played to the court, Bevan can be seen recording himself on his phone lifting Lola up off the sofa and trying to get her to stand.
Lola was limp and when he let her go, she fell to the floor making an extremely loud thump.
Bevan then picked her up, placed her on the sofa, put a blanket over her midriff area of her body, before looking at the camera and saying “she’s gone”.
Despite obvious signs of Lola being seriously injured, Bevan still had not made any attempts to wake Lola’s mother Sinead James or call for medical help.
At just before 7.30am, after numerous texts between Bevan and his mother, he eventually asked her to call an ambulance, stating that he was unable to do so from his phone.
Something the prosecution denies, based on the fact he had made calls to a friend in that time period and had made several internet searches.
The court heard how Lola had 101 surface injuries on her body, including bruising to her forehead, eyes, bridge of her nose and bruising to all four of her limbs, bruised lips, bruised ears and dried blood inside them.
There were puncture marks to the side of her eyes and forehead with dried blood.
Bruised lips, bruised ears and dried blood was found inside one of them.
The injuries, the prosecution argue, are as a result of “abusive head trauma with some form of impact”.
Caroline Rees KC said: “Kyle Bevan murdered Lola by seriously assaulting her.
The injuries noted, which were caused by brutal and serious physical violence.
“Rather than face up, Bevan tried to save himself.
“Rather than call 999 immediately. He took a coward’s escape by placing false blame on the family dog.
The injuries sustained are wholly inconsistent with an accident. Instead are a result of a frenzied, brutal and violent attack at hands of someone she should have been able to trust.”
The prosecution claims that along with the medical experts that will be giving evidence in the trial in the coming weeks, will prove that these injuries are as a result of a “murderous attack” and not as a result of an accidental fall.
An outline of James and Bevan’s relationship was laid out to the court. It was described as ‘volatile’.
Caroline Rees KC, told the court how, there is no suggestion that James was involved in any way in the assault, but she did not take reasonable steps to protect Lola.
The prosecution argues that past incidents and the domestic violence that James had been subject to at the hands of Bevan were clear indicators that her children were not safe in Bevan’s hands.
An outline of previous aggressive behaviour displayed by Bevan was heard.
In the months leading up to Lola’s death, a number of injuries were noted to Lola.
Each of the injuries were explained away by Bevan’s as accidents. Explanations that were accepted by James.
However one incident which is said should have set ‘alarm bells ringing’ was an incident in which Bevan’s pushed another child into a road and said: “F**k it”.
The pram and child were retrieved by James quickly.
Caroline Rees KC said: “Messages between the couple in the months before demonstrate an escalation of abuse and aggression within the domestic home.
“Exposing [Lola] to significant risk.