Man guilty of murdering partner’s three-year-old boy after weeks of cruelty

Jurors heard Kemarni Watson Darby’s body had 34 separate areas of injury, including numerous rib fractures.

12 April 2022

A man has been found guilty of murdering his partner’s three-year-old son after inflicting more than 20 rib fractures during weeks of “horrendous” beatings, including some using force similar to a car crash.

Convicted drug dealer 32-year-old Nathaniel Pope was found unanimously guilty by a Birmingham Crown Court jury on Tuesday after hearing evidence that Kemarni Watson Darby’s body, which had 34 separate areas of external injuries, had acted as a “silent witness” to his crime.

Kemarni’s mother, 30-year-old Alicia Watson, was cleared of murdering her son but found guilty of causing or allowing the child’s death.

The four-month trial was told Watson and Pope – who blamed each other from the witness box – were “partners in crime” and continued to live together for several months after Kemarni’s death.

The youngster died from abdominal injuries on the afternoon of June 5 2018, after his ribcage was “crushed” at the couple’s two-bedroom flat in West Bromwich.

Pope, of Wolverhampton, and Watson, of Handsworth, Birmingham, were also convicted of a single court each of child cruelty to Kemarni between May 1 and June 5 2018, relating to the infliction of rib fractures and an abdominal injury prior to the fatal injury.

The pair were also separately convicted of two further counts of child cruelty in relation to other children.

Both will be sentenced at a later date.

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