A two-year-old girl was killed in a “frenzied and extremely violent attack” by her mum’s boyfriend who claimed her injuries were caused by the family dog, a court has heard.
Lola James died of “catastrophic” head trauma on 21 July 2020 after suffering 101 external injuries and extensive damage to both her eyes in a horrific attack.
Kyle Bevan, 31, from Queen’s Road, Aberystwyth, is accused of murdering the toddler four months after moving into the family home in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales.
Mr Bevan is now standing trial at Swansea Crown Court along with Lola’s mother, Sinead James, 30, who is charged with causing or allowing her death when she allowed Bevan to move into their home.
The court heard how Lola was subjected to a “brutal” assault while alone with Mr Bevan between the evening of 16 July and the morning of 17 July.
Mr Bevan claims that the injuries the little girl sustained were caused by her being pushed down the stairs by the family dog - a claim the prosecution says is a “deliberate lie to cover up his guilt”.
Jurors were shown photographs of Lola’s injuries taken by Mr Bevan and a video he shot showing her unconscious, badly injured and unable to stand. They were also shown several internet searches he made for information about babies suffering head impact and loss of consciousness.
Phone records show that, at around 6.30am, Mr Bevan googled “my 2 year old child has just taken a bang to the head and gone all limp and snoring. What’s wrong”.
Prosecutor Caroline Rees KC said that, despite this being an indication of fatal injuries, Mr Bevan waited another hour before calling for an ambulance at around 7.30am.
Lola was found lying unconscious with a bruised and swollen face when paramedics arrived at the home, and she also appeared to be wet.
Ms Rees said it is believed that the two-year-old had been scrubbed clean, even of the children’s transfer tattoos which she appeared to have had on her arm the day before the attack.
‘He tried to save himself’
Investigators also noted that the bath was spotlessly clean despite the rest of the house being generally dirty, and a vomit and blood-stained grey onesie was also found in the corner of the living room.
Ms Rees said: “We say that the injuries noted to Lola, including those which caused her premature death, were the result of a brutal and extremely violent physical assault upon her by Kyle Bevan whilst they were alone together.
“We say that, rather than face up to that which he did to the little girl, Kyle Bevan immediately tried to save himself. Rather than immediately call the emergency services, as surely would be natural had this been an accident as he now says, he took time to concoct excuses and lies.
“He tried, the prosecution say, to take a coward’s escape by trying to place false blame upon the family dog, suggesting that Lola must have fallen down the stairs.
“It is the prosecution case that the injuries sustained by Lola are wholly inconsistent with an accidental injury and show instead that she was the victim of what must have been a frenzied, brutal and violent attack at the hands of somebody she should have been able to trust.”
Ms Rees said Mr Bevan attempted to “cover his tracks” by cleaning the bath it is claimed he put Lola in “perhaps to revive her after his attack or alternatively to clean her of blood and vomit”.
Ms James claims she was asleep when her daughter’s injuries were caused, which is accepted by the prosecution, Ms Rees said, although they say she should have been aware of the threat Mr Bevan posed to Lola due to previous violent incidents against her.
The prosecutor added: “We do say that she was, or at least should have been, well aware of the risk of violence which Kyle Bevan posed to her child but she did nothing to protect Lola from the danger which he presented, instead choosing to prioritise her relationship with him over her own daughter’s physical safety.”
Ms Rees said the basis for their belief was that Ms James knew Lola “had sustained injuries whilst in Kyle Bevan’s care in the past and she knew that he had a nasty and violent temper, particularly when under the influence of drugs.”
Experts are expected to be called by the prosecution during the trial to testify that Lola’s injuries show she was a “victim of abusive trauma” and a “deliberate physical assault”.
Lola was two years and nine months old at the time of her death four days later at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital in Cardiff. Those who had known her during her short life are said to have described her as a “happy, beautiful and busy little girl”.
Ms James, of Neyland, denies causing or allowing the death of a child and Mr Bevan, of Aberystwyth, denies murder.
The trial, which is due to last four weeks, continues.