Horror as child killer jailed for ‘harrowing’ murder of girlfriend’s two-year-old son

Kyrell Matthews: Police release chilling 111 call from mother

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Kyrell Matthews was left with 41 rib fractures and internal injuries when he died in October 2019 at the hands of his mum’s boyfriend, Kemar Brown.

Kemar Brown, 28, and mum Phylesia Shirley, 24, subjected the two-year-old to horrific abuse that was captured on secret recordings.

After both appeared alongside each other in court on Friday, Brown was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years while Shirley was charged with manslaughter and sentenced to 13 years behind bars.

Officers were able to uncover audio recordings of both adults hitting Kyrell after Shirley took secret mobile recordings to check whether Brown was cheating on her.

In the distressing audio files, which were played to jurors during the trial, Kyrell could be heard crying and screaming as he was hit repeatedly.

Brown, who has multiple previous convictions, could be heard telling the non-verbal toddler to “shut up” and saying to him “you have to ruin the fun”.

In another recording, Shirley was heard striking the two-year-old and causing him to break down in distress.

Prosecutor Edward Brown QC told the jury, Shirley had put her relationship with Brown above her own child.

The couple were both unemployed at the time of Kyrell’s murder in October 2019, and were both cannabis users.

They are understood to have had at least one visit by social services before Kyrell’s tragic death.

Both declined to comment during the trial, but the court heard Brown’s defence was that the injuries inflicted were because of incorrect resuscitation advice from the operator after the couple called 111 the day Kyrell died.

The operator had told Shirley to use both hands and “push down fast” and “go for it” when she made the call after Kyrell had collapsed.

Prosecutor Edward Brown told the jury: “(Shirley) 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.”

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Brown’s lawyer Mark McDonald described the audio clips as “horrendous” and said “the only mitigation” was that he had not intended to kill the boy by inflicting the injuries.

When passing the sentence, Judge Lucraft said: “Many others looking from the outside into this case, and particularly those who desperately seek to have a family, will struggle to understand how those primarily responsible for this little boy’s nurture and day-to-day care can have acted so cruelly to take his life.

“He was just a month over his second birthday when he was killed. The photographs and video clips show him to be a bright and bubbly little boy.”

Mr Lucraft also said there had been “an element of degradation and or sadistic behaviour” towards the toddler, and described the recordings heard in court as “harrowing and deeply upsetting”.

He said it was clear Shirley had taken part in the violence and told her: “Any normal parent’s response is to love and protect their child. You did neither, and it really mattered.”

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