- Rebecca Shuttleworth, 24, and Luke Southerton, 31, accused of beating and killing Keanu Williams over 48-hours in January 2011
- Both also allegedly tortured him for several months in Birmingham flat
- Toddler found with 37 injuries, including 'fist-shaped' tear near his intestine
- Their murder trial is expected to last 3 months
By Martin Robinson
PUBLISHED: 11:27 EST, 15 January 2013 | UPDATED: 12:34 EST, 15 January 2013
A mother and her boyfriend killed her two-year-old son by beating him so badly he had 37 injuries - including a 'fist-sized' tear near his intestine, a murder trial heard today.
Rebecca Shuttleworth, 24, and Luke Southerton, 31, are also accused of torturing Keanu Williams for several months before battering the toddler to death over a 48-hour period.
Birmingham Crown Court heard yesterday the lifeless body of Keanu - also known as ‘Kiwi’ - was found by a paramedic on the sofa of Southerton’s flat in Ward End, Birmingham, on January 9, 2011.
Trial: Rebecca Shuttleworth and Luke Southerton in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court today, where they stand accused of murdering her son Keanu, 2
Death: Two-year-old Keanu Williams's body showed 37 external marks of injury allegedly inflicted in 48 hours
The court heard Southerton dialled 999 at around 7.42pm and when an ambulance arrived eight minutes later paramedics found the youngster had stopped breathing and his skin was pale.
He was rushed to nearby Heartlands hospital but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
The court heard paramedics questioned Shuttleworth when she travelled to the hospital with Keanu about the hours leading up to his death. She told them that he had been refusing to eat and had vomited earlier that day.
Prosecutor Christopher Hotten QC told the court Shuttleworth had taken Keanu to Southerton’s flat on January 7 2011, where he was savagely and repeatedly beaten for 48 hours.
Accused: Rebecca Shuttleworth and Luke Southerton arrive at Birmingham Crown Court
today, who prosecutors say tried to hide the child's injuries to avoid being caught by the authorities
He told the jury that a post mortem also revealed he may have suffered months of abuse.
Tragic: Baby Keanu was found lifeless on a Birmingham sofa by paramedics early in 2011
Mr Hotten said: 'How was it that this two-year-old boy came to die on a sofa in a flat in Ward End, Birmingham?
'The answer, sadly, is that he was beaten to death.
'His fatal injuries were inflicted some time after he arrived at Luke Southerton’s flat with Rebecca Shuttleworth late on the evening of Friday 7th January.
'His fatal injuries, we say, were not an isolated event but the culmination of months of ill-treatment and assaults.'
Mr Hotten said the pair did not report Keanu’s injuries out of fear they would be prosecuted and only called an ambulance after he was dead.
He added: 'We say he was undoubtedly dead.
'He was not breathing, there was no pulse, the pupils of his eyes were fixed and dilated, his skin was white and waxen.
'No medical help was sought for this child until he was dead.
'Both Rebecca and Luke, we say, must have known that Keanu was assaulted and was profoundly unwell.
'Their only hope was that he might recover untreated.
'Both were in it together, it was understood between them that Keanu had been beaten and punished and we say each had been criminally responsible for the injuries that caused his death.
'We say that any competent carer would have realised that he was profoundly unwell and would have called an ambulance.'
Investigation: Police and forensic officers outside the home where Keanu was allegedly battered to death by those who should have cared for him
Both defendants also face one charge each of causing or allowing the death of a child and one charge each of child cruelty.
Shuttleworth wept throughout the court hearing.
In his opening address to the jury, Judge Mr Justice Spencer warned the four men and eight women to put aside emotion.
He said: 'I’m sure you understand the absolute crucial importance of you as jurors not being affected by emotion at all in this case.
'What’s called for by a jury in a case of this kind is a cool and dispassionate assessment of the evidence and that is what will lead you to true verdicts.'
The trial is expected to last up to three months.
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