Keanu Williams's mother and partner 'beat him to death'

Keanu Williams Keanu Williams, who was also known as "Kiwi", died on 9 January 2011

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A two-year-old boy was "beaten to death" by his mother and her boyfriend in Birmingham, a jury has been told.

Toddler Keanu Williams died in January 2011 after being found with head and chest injuries in Ward End.

His mother Rebecca Shuttleworth, 24, of Cottingham Road, Manchester, and Luke Southerton, 31, of Hagley Road, Birmingham, deny murdering Keanu.

The pair also deny causing or allowing the death of a child and the charge of cruelty to a child aged under 16.

Ms Shuttleworth denies a separate child cruelty charge against a different child.

Christopher Hotten QC, prosecuting, told Birmingham Crown Court that Keanu had been "beaten to death".

Mr Hotten alleged the toddler sustained his fatal injuries after he arrived with his mother at Mr Southerton's flat in Old Moat Way, Ward End, on 7 January.

'Potent evidence'

The jury was told Keanu's body was discovered after Mr Southerton had dialled 999 at 19:42 GMT on 9 January.

During the call, Mr Southerton claimed the two-year-old had stopped breathing, was pale and had not been well all day.

Seven minutes after the call had been made, a first responder arrived to find Keanu, who Mr Hotten alleged had already succumbed to internal bleeding.

Mr Hotten told the court: "We say he was undoubtedly dead. He was not breathing, there was no pulse, the pupils of his eyes were fixed and dilated."

Keanu was taken by ambulance to Heartlands Hospital where he was formally pronounced dead at 20:30 GMT.

The prosecution claimed the toddler's injuries were not an "isolated event" and that he had been ill-treated for months.

Mr Hotten added: "No medical help was sought for this child until he was dead.

"The fact that neither (defendant) sought help until it was too late is potent evidence that both knew the injuries were incapable of sensible explanation.

"It is also, we say, potent evidence that both were in it together.

"We say each is criminally responsible for the injuries that caused his death."

Struck at force

The prosecution added that medical staff had been "alarmed by the bruising they saw to his body".

Most of the bruising found by pathologists was to Keanu's lower chest and abdomen, but there were also found to be bruising to the head and back.

Mr Hotten alleged that "tramline" bruising on the toddler had been identified by a pathologist as being consistent with having been struck, at force, with a rod or stick.

The court also heard a fist-sized tear to Keanu's abdomen had caused substantial bleeding.

"We say that any competent carer would have realised that he was profoundly unwell and would have called an ambulance," Mr Hotten added.

"It was the effect of this injury, over a period of 24-48 hours, which was the main cause of his death."

The trial is expected to last three months.

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