Birmingham & Black Country

Kandyce Downer denies murdering toddler in Birmingham

Keegan Downer Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Keegan Downer, also known as Shi-Anne, had 120 old or recent bruises on her body, Birmingham Crown Court heard

A mother-of-four battered a toddler to death months after she was made the child's legal guardian, a court has heard.

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

Kandyce Downer denies murdering the 18-month-old, after she collapsed at the family home in Birmingham.

The child also had a "terrible" spiral leg fracture which had gone untreated.

It left the girl "deformed" with one leg shorter than the other, the court heard.

Nigel Power QC said Keegan also had seven recently broken ribs which would have made breathing "very painful", and an historic head injury at least several days old at the time she died.

Forensic testing of the house where the toddler died revealed traces of her blood on the cot and bedroom wall.

Born in March 2014 to a heroin-addict mother, the otherwise healthy girl was put with a foster carer by social services.

The child was then placed with 35-year-old Downer as the legal guardian in January 2015.

Keegan was described in court as a "healthy and happy baby" and lived at Downer's family home in Beckbury Road, Weoley Castle.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Keegan Downer was living in Beckbury Road with her guardian Kandyce Downer at the time of her death

She collapsed at home shortly before 10am on 5 September 2015.

When paramedics arrived, Downer had Keegan lying down on a sofa and told them: "I don't know when she stopped breathing, because I was in the bath."

"Terrible injuries"

Downer later told paramedics she had popped out and left the child alone during that morning.

Keegan died from a combination of septicaemia, infection, blunt chest trauma and old head injuries.

Of Downer, Mr Power said: "We say there is no other realistic candidate for the many and terrible injuries that led to Keegan's death."

The trial of Downer, who also denies causing or allowing the death of Keegan, continues.

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