Kyle Bevan has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 28 years for the murder of two-year-old Lola James.

Her mother, Sinead James, has been sentenced to six years for allowing the death of her daughter.

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A mother and her boyfriend have been convicted over the death of her “happy, busy and good little” two-year-old girl.

Kyle Bevan, aged 31, fatally injured Lola James by repeatedly hitting her in a savage attack that left his victim limp and unresponsive in the early hours of Friday, 17 July, 2020.

But instead of raising the alarm, he searched for advice on how to rouse an unconscious child, as well as taking photos and videos of the mortally-injured girl, which he sent to his mother, while his partner Sinead James slept.

It was an hour before the alarm was raised and help was sent to the dirty and cluttered home in Princess Royal Way in Haverfordwest.

Lola was taken to Withybush Hospital by ambulance before being transferred to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where she died as a result of her injuries on 21 July 2020.

Bevan has now been convicted of her murder following a three-week trial at Swansea Crown Court, while her mother, aged 30, has been convicted of causing or allowing the death of a child.

The trial, heard by High Court judge Mr Justice Griffiths, was told that on the night of 16 July it is believed Lola was put to bed by Bevan, and she had no serious injury at this stage.

But by 6.32am Bevan was busy searching the internet for information about babies sustaining head impact and loss of consciousness, before taking images and footage of her bruised body.

Prosecutor Caroline Rees KC said that during the early hours of the morning Lola had sustained a catastrophic head injury and that Kyle Bevan was responsible for inflicting it.

It was not until 7.28am, nearly an hour after the internet searches, that Bevan asked his mother to call an ambulance, despite Lola being unconscious and clearly in need of urgent medical treatment.

The court also heard Lola was found to have 101 external injuries including bruises and grazes “all over her little body”.

The prosecutor said that examination of the child’s eyes showed serious and extensive damage to both retinas while a scan showed catastrophic and fatal brain injuries.

She said: “She (Lola) was the victim of what must have been a brutal, frenzied and violent attack at the hands of somebody she should have been able to trust.”

Three medical experts were called to give evidence at the trial and they were all in agreement that the level of injuries Lola had sustained were not consistent with a fall down carpeted stairs.

One of them, Paediatrician Dr Deborah Stalker, told the court that falls down stairs are common and that most children who do fall down stairs, including small children and babies, suffer minor soft tissue injuries.

Dr Stalker said: “In my opinion Lola’s severe and extensive injuries cannot be explained by a fall down the stairs.

“Physical abuse is the most likely cause. A stair fall does not explain the catastrophic and extensive injuries to the head with bleeding to both eyes.

 “An extensive subdural haemorrhage is usually the result of a high-velocity road traffic collision where a child is thrown from the collision, or a fall from a great height, such as a fall from a balcony or bedroom window of more than 10 feet.”

The court heard James and Bevan met online in February 2020 and were soon living together as the country went into lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Bevan taking on parenting duties.

Within four months little Lola was killed.

Following her arrest, in police interview, James said when she spoke to her domestic violence officer, they asked for Bevan’s details.

She gave them his name but he refused to give her his date of birth saying they didn’t need that information.

An officer asked if she feared Kyle, to which she responded: “Sometimes yeah. If he takes drink or Xanax he gets really angry and I don’t like it and it’s really scary. I don’t like intimidation, I don’t like it.”

The officer pointed out every time Lola had an injury, Kyle was there and she wasn’t.

James said: “It’s looking really weird.”

The officer said: “Why are you never around, you’re their mother?”

James said: “I don’t know, I must be doing something. I’ve never injured (Lola).”

On one such occasion, just three to four weeks before she died, Lola suffered a black eye. Bevan blamed it on the dog, saying it had knocked her off the sofa.

Asked why she had not taken her daughter to get the care she needed, she said:  “Kyle said his mum was a nurse and I really did believe his mum was a nurse. He said he asked his mum and he said it was fine. I asked him if I should call (hospital) and he said no.”

The court heard about an incident on July 7, where Bevan was alleged to have shouted “f*** it” and pushed a child in a pram into the road.

James said the incident made her feel “sick”, and that Bevan “did not care”.

Ms Rees asked why James did not end their relationship there and then.

“I’m stupid,” said James. “He said he’d never do it ever again.”

But just over a week later Bevan fatally attacked Lola.

The jury was sent out on Friday, 31 March, and returned verdicts today.

Kyle and James will be sentenced on Tuesday, 25 April.

Senior investigating officer DCI Gareth Roberts said:

“This verdict is welcomed. Our thoughts at this time are with Lola and the family who loved her.

Lola died on the 21st of July 2020 as a result of horrendous injuries which were inflicted by Kyle Bevan in what must have been a frenzied and extremely violent attack on a helpless two-year-old child.

Lola had 101 external injuries to her body and her death was caused by a catastrophic brain injury, likely caused by blunt force trauma (punching / slapping), shaking or a combination of both. 

“Bevan delayed raising the alarm and seeking medical attention for at least an hour after he inflicted the fatal injuries and in the time since he has shown no remorse, emotion or any care for Lola.

“Consumed by his own self-preservation, Bevan lied and fabricated an accidental stair fall to try and cover his tracks but, with the help of medical experts, we have been able to prove that his actions on the 17th of July 2020 were deliberate, abhorrent and evil.

“Lola should have been able to rely on her own mother to keep her safe from harm and physical risk. However, Sinead James seriously failed in her duty towards her daughter.  She was, or at least ought to have been, well aware of the risk of violence which Bevan posed to her child but did nothing to protect Lola from the danger which he presented.

“This incident occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sinead James struck up a new relationship with Kyle Bevan in February 2020 and allowed him into her life, moving in with her after only knowing each other for a day – there was then a period of lockdown where Kyle Bevan remained and lived within Sinead James’ household.

“This investigation commenced after police officers were called to Princess Royal Way in Haverfordwest on Friday 17th July 2020 to a report of an injured 2yr old child, falsely presented by Bevan as a stair fall.

“Tragically Lola James (2yrs old) had suffered a significant brain injury and died on the 21st of July 2020. Medical experts subsequently noted 101 separate injuries to her body, most of which being determined as abusive inflicted injuries – they were deemed to be non-accidental and not consistent with a stair fall.

“Concerns were raised from the outset and an investigation was commenced that has been complex, exhaustive & emotionally demanding for all professionals due to the clear horrific abuse of a vulnerable child.

“Specialist officers have supported Lola’s close family throughout the investigation. A significant volume of probative evidence was gathered that contradicted the lies of Bevan, with compelling medical expert opinion being critical.

“I’d like to thank the community, many of which were brave to provide important witness testimony.

“I’d like to personally thank Lola’s family for the respectful manner that they have conducted themselves as this difficult investigation progressed. 

“The love for Lola is clear and it is a tragedy that will be difficult to overcome, however, I hope this outcome brings some comfort.”