Kemarni Watson Darby murder: West Brom drug dealer jailed for life

Violent drug-user who murdered his partner’s three-year-old son has been jailed for life - with a minimum term of 24 years

A violent drug-user who murdered his partner’s three-year-old son after inflicting more than 20 rib fractures during weeks of “horrendous” beatings has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 24 years.

Birmingham Crown Court heard that the force used by Nathanial Pope on three year-old Kemarni Watson Darby was similar to that normally caused by a car crash.

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The violent drug-user, aged 32, inflicted more than 20 rib fractures during weeks of  “horrendous” beatings.

He was found guilty by a jury in April, following a five-month trial which heard that the little boy had 34 separate areas of external injuries and has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 24 years today (Tuesday, May 24).

Alicia Watson

Kemarni’s mother, Alicia Watson, was cleared of murder but found guilty of causing or allowing his death.

Watson, 31, was also convicted of child cruelty and was given an 11-year prison term at the same sentencing hearing as Pope.

Jurors heard that the couple, who blamed each other from the witness box, continued to live together for several months after Kemarni died from abdominal injuries in June 2018 when his ribs were “crushed” at their two-bedroom flat in West Bromwich.

Nathaniel Pope

What did the sentencing judge say?

Passing sentence, Mrs Justice Tipples said: “This is a particularly distressing and tragic case.

“Kemarni died on the afternoon of the 5th of June 2018. You, Nathaniel Pope, brutally assaulted Kemarni in the sitting room of his own home, and, knowing he was in extreme distress and pain, you left him to bleed to death.

“I am sure that you did this when Alicia Watson was out. When you (Watson) returned, you found Kemani’s lifeless body on the sofa and dialled 999.”

The judge added that Kemarni’s injuries had been the result of extremely severe force “compatible with the type of injuries seen in a road traffic collision or when an individual falls from a height”.

Watson knew Pope was injuring Kemarni with punches and kicks but had done nothing to stop it, the judge said, while she also “regularly beat him hard” with her hands.

Among the fatal injuries to the toddler’s body were four rib fractures believed by pathologists to have been caused up to four weeks before he was killed at his home in Beaconview Road.

Kemarni Watson Darby suffered a catalogue of horrendous injuries for weeks before his death (Photo: West Midlands Police)

Is this the first time that Nathaniel Pope has been jailed for violence?

Pope, who was jailed for four months in 2011 for a brutal attack on a young mother on a London bus, claimed he had not seen or heard the final fatal attack.

The former warehouse worker, from Wolverhampton, has previous convictions for burglary and possession of heroin with intent to supply.

Kemarni Watson Darby with his mother Alicia Watson as they returned to the flat in West Bromwich where he was fatally assaulted on June 5 2018

What about Alicia Watson’s past?

Watson, of Handsworth, Birmingham, swore at Pope’s QC while giving evidence and denied any wrongdoing.

During the trial, it emerged that she had bought cannabis and spent money on driving lessons as Kemarni lost his nursery place due to lack of funds.

The trial was told that Kemarni would already have been in pain from serious injuries when, hours before he was beaten to death, he was taken by Watson to a walk-in health centre, where he was given medicine for a suspected stomach bug.

Kemarni Watson Darby

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