Kyrell Matthews: mum and ex-partner sentenced as abuse details revealed

The mum and ex-partner of Kyrell Matthews, found dead at his south London home in Thornton Heath, were sentenced today.

The two-year-old from Croydon died as a result of trauma to his abdomen that had torn his liver, probably as a result of squeezing, crushing or blows and he also had five broken ribs.

There were 41 additional rib fractures found that had been caused on five separate occasions in the month leading up to his death and some of his ribs had been repeatedly broken.

Collectively, the injuries showed that Kyrell had been subjected to a steady period of repeated assaults.

The court heard how at around 15:00pm on Sunday, 20 October 2019 Kyrell’s mother, Phylesia Shirley, 24, phoned the non-emergency NHS helpline and told them Kyrell was having trouble breathing.

The 111 call. Audio courtesy of the Met Police

She was advised to carry out CPR, but when an ambulance arrived just 12 minutes later, they could not detect a heartbeat.

His body temperature was low, indicating he had not been breathing for some time.

Present was her then boyfriend Kemar Brown – both he and Shirley stated that Kyrell had some sort of fit while he was sleeping.

After being rushed to Croydon University Hospital, he was officially pronounced dead at 4:15pm.

On Thursday, 31 October 2019 Brown and Shirley were arrested and interviewed and denied any responsibility for Kyrell’s injuries.

The Old Bailey ruled Kemar Brown, 28, guilty of Kyrell’s murder.

He was also found guilty of causing / allowing serious physical harm to a child.

Shirley was found guilty of manslaughter and pleaded guilty on the first day of her trial on Monday, 17 January to allowing the death of a child, and allowing serious physical harm to a child.

Detective Chief Inspector Kate Keiran of the Met’s Specialist Crime said: “This was a horrific case and the injuries inflicted on Kyrell were truly appalling.

“It is impossible to understand how someone can brutalise a child in this way.

“This was not some sudden loss of temper – these injuries show that the abuse of Kyrell went on and on.”

Prosecutor Samatha Yelland said: “He was a two-year-old child and both his carers inflicted this violence upon him and he wasn’t able to do anything to prevent it.”

Kyrell Matthews, 2 years old. Image: Met Police

Shirley had made those recordings in an attempt to catch her ex-partner cheating but that is when she caught Brown taunting him and telling him  “you have to ruin the fun” and to “shut up” during an assault.

She had chosen to stay with Brown after discovering that he had been abusing her child.

Mr Justice Lucraft QC told Shirley she should feel utterly ashamed by what she had done as he and the jury listened to harrowing recordings of Kyrell being repeatedly beaten.

He said: “She was prepared to reject what should have been motherly care in protecting Kyrell in favour of abuse by her – his own mother – and in favour of the abuse carried out by a man she knew was abusing her child.

“The truth is that his death came when once more he was abused in that flat, once more in a very similar way, causing very similar injuries, except on this occasion it was so much more serious, the abuse and the results were catastrophic.”

Jurors were told that on one occasion in the days before he died, Kyrell was reluctant to go back into his mother’s flat after having spent the day elsewhere.

Gone too soon, Kyrell in happier times. Image: Met Police

Kyrell’s family released a statement that said: “Kyrell – you were robbed of the life God had intended for you.

“Our family have been robbed of the joys of watching your grow up and seeing what you would have become.

“You have left a void in our hearts that will never be filled.

“We carry you in our hearts forever.”

Sentencing will adjourn on 25 March.

Related Articles