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08 Apr

Mother 'battered her 18-month old foster daughter to death after inflicting more than 120 separate injuries'

Published by Abambika Acbnews

Mother 'battered her 18-month old foster daughter to death after inflicting more than 120 separate injuries'

By GUY BIRCHALL

15:15, 7 Apr 2016

A MUM of four battered her 18-month-old foster daughter to death with such force the tot suffered more than 120 injuries, a court heard today.

Kandyce Downer, 35, is accused of beating little Keegan so badly she had broken legs and ribs, and suffered severe head and spine injuries.

The little girl, who was fostered by Downer because her drug addict mum was unable to look after her, died last September.

More than 120 old or recent bruises, marks and broken bones were discovered on the youngster's body, Birmingham Crown Court was told.

Keegan, also known as Shi-Anne, was found unconscious at Downer's home in Beckbury Road, Weoley Castle, Birmingham, on September 5 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

She was rushed to Birmingham Children's Hospital but was pronounced dead.

Downer appeared at Birmingham crown court yesterday where she denied murder and causing or allowing the death of a child.

The court heard Keegan was born on March 9, 2014 and soon after was put into foster care.

In January last year she went to live with Downer, who was studying a full-time business course, and became the tot's legal guardian.

Prosecutor Nigel Power QC said Keegan went to nursery on June 5.

He said: "That was the last time any professionals had anything to do with Keegan.

"Three months later on the morning of September 5 the defendant called 999 from her home address. She said: 'My daughter is not breathing' and was told to blow in her mouth."

When paramedics arrived Downer told them she did not know when the toddler had stopped breathing because she had been in the bath.

Mr Power said: "The likelihood is that Keegan was already dead when paramedics arrived.

"A large number of people tried to save Keegan but it was already too late.

"Since she died an equally large number of people have tried to establish how in fact she died.

"The prosecution say the picture was one of repeated episodes of inflicted injury and apparent neglect."

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Consultant paediatrician Dr Ben Stanhope told the court the tragic tot had the worst injuries he had seen in his 20-year career.

The court heard Keegan had 49 older scars and other marks to the face and body, 29 signs of recent injury to the head and neck and 13 of recent injury to her body.

Dr Stanhope told the court a fracture to Keegan's right femur would have left her in "excruciating pain".

In a written statement he told the court: "It is unquestionable that a fracture to the femur of this nature would have caused Keegan excruciating pain.

"It is likely that she will have cried, possibly screamed, extensively on many occasions.

"Rib fractures are typically very painful injuries. They will have caused persistent severe pain for Keegan every time she moved her trunk or breathed.

"It is inconceivable that any parent or carer looking after Keegan at the time of any of the injuries would not have been very obviously aware of her pain and distress.

"The injuries to the upper and lower lip are the most severe I have seen in over 20 years working in paediatrics."

The court heard the injuries could have been caused up to a month before her death.

The trial continues.

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