Alfie Phillips: Mother of 18-month-old boy and former partner found guilty of murder
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The mother of an 18-month-old boy and her former partner have been found guilty of his murder after a 'lengthy night of violence' that resulted in 70 separate injuries on his body. Alfie Phillips, was beaten to death and smothered in an overnight attack by the pair fuelled by alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine. He suffered from internal bleeding, bruising, and fractures to his chest, ribs, feet, arms and left leg, as well as facial injuries and bite marks.
Following a nine-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court, Sian Hedges, 27, and Jack Benham, 35, were both convicted and will face life imprisonment for his murder, which took place in Benham’s caravan in Hernhill, near Faversham, Kent.
The trial also heard that Alfie had traces of cocaine in his system, believed to be from passive inhalation of the drug. Benham and Hedges later admitted they had taken cocaine and drunk alcohol on the night of his murder. As well as cocaine, doctors also found traces of cannabis and alcohol in Alfie’s body.
Alfie had been seen by members of Hedges’ family on the evening of Friday, November 27, 2020, and he appeared well and without any visible injuries. The boy was found blue and floppy the following morning, and paramedics said it was “immediately apparent” to them that Alfie had been dead for some time.
The couple, who both denied harming Alfie, claimed they shared a bed with him overnight and awoke at 11.30am to find him unresponsive. The emergency services were called and Alfie was confirmed dead at 12.35pm.
Jurors took nearly 10 hours to reach a unanimous guilty verdict for the murder of Alfie. Prosecutor Jennifer Knight KC told jurors: “It is clear that he had been deliberately injured on more than one occasion, culminating in an assault perpetrated on him during the night of 27 to 28 November 2020 that led to his death.”
She added: “Jack Benham and Sian Hedges were in the caravan together throughout the night. Had either defendant not been joining in with the assaults, that defendant who was not part of it would have stopped the attack and removed Alfie Phillips from the caravan, and from the presence of the other who was carrying out these attacks. The fact that this did not happen can only be because both defendants agreed that the assaults should take place … they both agreed in meting out some sort of aggressive, violent discipline to Alfie that night which resulted in his death.”
Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Kath Way, said: ‘Today’s verdict will not bring Alfie back, but it does mean that Hedges and Benham lose their right to freedom and life as they know it. Alfie should have been protected and loved by his mum, instead Hedges and Benham inflicted unimaginable suffering on him during a sustained and lengthy night of violence.
"They refused to admit what they had done and put the rest of Alfie’s family, who loved him dearly, through the ordeal of a trial, where details of their horrendous abuse was detailed for all to hear. Alfie would have been four now and would have recently started school. Instead, his life was cruelly taken away by those he should have been able to trust the most."
Both Hedges and Benham will be sentenced on Tuesday December 19.