A man accused of murdering a two-year-old girl while her mother lay sleeping upstairs recorded a video of her limp, unconscious body and told the camera “She’s gone”.
The “disturbing” footage of Kyle Bevan, 31, from Aberystwyth, attempting to make a visibly injured Lola James stand before allowing her to fall to the floor was shown to a jury at Swansea Crown Court on Wednesday.
Lola died on July 21 2020 of “catastrophic” head trauma, having suffered 101 external injuries and extensive damage to both her eyes.
The toddler’s brain injuries were described by doctors as similar to those seen in high-speed car crashes or falls from a great height, and not consistent with an accidental fall.
Bevan denies murdering Lola four months after moving into the family home in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales, and claims instead that the family pet, an American bulldog, pushed her downstairs.
He is on trial along with the Lola’s mother, Sinead James, 30, who is charged with causing or allowing her death.
Taken on his propped-up phone, a topless Bevan can be seen lifting an unresponsive Lola and trying to place her on her feet and get her to stand. He then lets her go and a thud can be heard as she falls to the ground.
Bevan then places Lola back on the sofa where she can be heard snoring, and he walks towards the camera saying “She’s gone. She’s gone.”
The video was sent by Bevan in a message to his mother, Alison Bevan, a healthcare worker, at 6.58am.
In transcripts of messages shown to the jury, Ms Bevan urges her son to call the emergency services.
Having first called his mother at 6.40am, it was not until almost an hour later at 7.30am that Bevan messaged his mother asking her to call an ambulance, claiming his phone could not make calls.
Bevan also sent a number of pictures of Lola’s face to his mother. These images were displayed in court and showed Lola unconscious with an extremely swollen and bruised head and swollen lips.
Ms Rees said: “At 6.58am Kyle Bevan sends to Alison Bevan what the prosecution say is a disturbing 22-second film of Kyle Bevan trying to prop up a clearly unconscious and severely injured Lola.
“If this really was an accident why was Kyle Bevan spending time staging a recording like this rather than doing everything he could to contact the emergency services?”
Bevan is said to have also made a number of internet searches for information about babies suffering head injuries, including at 6.30am when he googled “my 2 year old child has just taken a bang to the head and gone all limp and snoring. What’s wrong”.
Ms Rees said it is the prosecution’s case that Bevan delayed getting help for Lola in order to “cover his tracks”.
The court heard that Facebook messages between the couple showed Lola had suffered injuries while in the sole care of Bevan in the months leading up to her death.
On April 19 2020 Lola is said to have suffered a “bloodied nose” while James was in a different room.
Ms Rees said: “Kyle Bevan messages Sinead James to say it could have been worse and how he hoped she had learned not to play on the stairs.”
Around a week later, on April 26, messages show Lola had a grazed chin while in Bevan’s care. He blamed it on her having fallen over earlier, calling her a “crazy kid”.
There are then messages referring to Lola having a cut lip on May 4.
Following the injury Bevan messaged James claiming that Lola had fallen off her bed and bit her lip when he had gone into her bedroom after hearing her crying.
He added: “Then when I was trying to help her cuz she was bleeding she was making a stupid noise and kicking right off you… Spitting at me and making a horrible noise… The whole thing upset me a bit I only wanted to help her .. feel useless … and I feel like you don’t trust me at all anymore xxxxxx.”
James told Ms Morgan Lola had fallen off the sofa on to the coffee table.
Ms Rees said James also suffered abuse at the hands of Bevan, who was an amphetamine user and prone to violent outbursts.
She said: “Messaging between the couple in the months leading up to Lola’s death, which you will see in the course of the evidence in the case, demonstrate, we say, an escalation of domestic abuse and aggression in the home.
“The prosecution say that Sinead James at very least ought to have known that keeping Lola in this environment was exposing her to a significant risk of serious violence at the hands of Kyle Bevan.
“We say she did nothing to keep Lola safe.
“Instead, on the night of 16th and 17th July 2020 she left Lola in Kyle Bevan’s sole care whilst she went to bed with the tragic consequences which we know were to follow.”
James denies she was aware of the risk posed to Lola by Bevan.
Ms Rees said consultant paediatrician Dr Deborah Stalker has said “Lola’s brain and retinal injuries can be explained by abusive head trauma which would include violent shaking”.
“Much of the widespread bruising is, in her opinion, consistent with inflicted blunt trauma rather than accidental injury,” she said.
Ms Rees said Dr Stalker also concluded that “should Lola have received treatment immediately, the damage to the brain may been less thus increasing her chance of survival”.