Kyrell Matthews: Mum and ex-partner jailed for killing of two-year-old

Two people have been sentenced for their role in the death of Croydon two-year-old Kyrell Matthews, who died in October 2019.

The child from died as a result of trauma to his abdomen that had torn his liver, probably as a result of squeezing, crushing or blows.

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.

During the sentencing at the Old Bailey on Friday, 4 March, the boyfriend of Kyrell’s mother, Kemar Brown, 28, from Thornton Heath, was found guilty of the two-year-old’s murder and of causing / allowing serious physical harm to the child.

While Kyrell’s mother, Phylesia Shirley, 24 of Bensham Manor Road, also from Thornton Heath, was found guilty of manslaughter. The two were jailed on Friday 25 March.

Brown was sentenced to life imprisonment to serve a minimum of 25 years in jail and Shirley was sentenced to 13 years after she plead guilty to allowing the death of a child and allowing serious physical harm to a child on the first day of the high-profile trial on 17 January.

During the trial, the court heard how Kyrell suffered several severe injuries during his short life, with Detective Chief Inspector Kate Kieran, of the Met’s Specialist Crime describing the sustained assaults as ‘appalling’.

“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. It was during one final brutal assault that Kyrell’s sad, short life was brought to an end,” the Detective Chief Inspector said in a statement on Friday 25 March.

“Today his mother and her boyfriend had been sentenced for their part in Kyrell’s death. Frankly I find it hard to understand how they could have committed such appalling acts on a defenceless child. A jury has quite rightly found both Shirley and Brown culpable for Kyrell’s ill-treatment – they will now face the consequences.”

In a separate statement, Samantha Yelland, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “This was a violent, determined and repeated pattern of assaults against a defenceless young child. Kyrell Matthews would have been in significant discomfort in the days before his death, and tragically he would have died in pain. As a mother, Phylesia Shirley should have protected him, but instead along with her partner, she subjected him to countless assaults in their own home.

“Jurors were presented with harrowing audio recordings of what took place in the home with both Brown and Shirley clearly involved in the physical abuse of the young toddler. I hope these convictions have brought some sense of justice to those who loved and cared for Kyrell.”

Kyrell’s family added: “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.”

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