Birmingham & Black Country

Kandyce Downer blames son for daughter Keegan's death

Keegan Downer Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Keegan Downer, also known as Shi-Anne, had more than 120 old separate injuries on her body, Birmingham Crown Court heard

A mother accused of murdering her 18-month-old daughter said her eldest son may be to blame for the fatal injuries.

Kandyce Downer said most of the "day-to-day" care of little Keegan was down to her son and three younger children.

Birmingham Crown Court was told post-mortem tests showed Keegan had suffered more than 120 separate injuries.

Asked by prosecutor Nigel Power QC to name the "prime candidate" for her daughter's death, she replied: "My eldest."

The court was told that on finding her 18-month-old "unwell" in her cot, she delayed calling 999 and instead drove off to dump the child's old blood-spotted mattress near a skip.

'I loved her'

The 35-year-old also admitted leaving Keegan alone in her bedroom to take her natural daughter out on the day of the toddler's death.

Ms Downer, of Beckbury Road, Weoley Castle, Birmingham, became Keegan's legal guardian in January 2015 following a formal court hearing.

Cross-examining, Mr Power asked why she failed to call 999 when she found her daughter unwell.

He said: "Did you think she was so unwell, that she might die? Downer replied: "Yes."

He then asked: "But it was more important to you was it, to get rid of the mattress than to try to do something to avoid her dying?"

Downer, who denies murder and causing or allowing the death of a child. replied: "Yes," before adding: "I loved her."

The trial continues.

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