A mother and her “monster” partner have been jailed over the death of a two-year-old girl.
Kyle Bevan, 31, was given a life sentence for murdering Lola James, the daughter of his partner, in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, with a minimum term of 28 years.
Sinead James, Lola’s mother, was sentenced to six years for causing or allowing her death, but will have to serve half before she can be released.
The attack at the hands of Bevan took place on 17 July 2020, with Lola dying from her injuries four days later.
Medical experts noted 101 separate injuries to her body, including a “catastrophic” brain injury.
Judge Mr Justice Griffiths said he was sure Bevan “was responsible for multiple assaults on the children before he murdered Lola”.
“He [Bevan] didn’t get emergency help, he didn’t wake Lola’s mum up. Instead he tried to cover his tracks,” the judge added.
“He moved Lola’s body around, callously photographing it and even filming it at one stage.”
Before the sentencing, Lola’s grandmother, Nicola James, appealed directly to Bevan, saying: “Look at me Kyle.”
He barely reacted and showed no sign of remorse, while James was in floods of tears.
Ms James said: “There isn’t a single moment of any day that I don’t think of Lola.
“Lola was nearly three when she was killed, she had her whole life ahead of her. She’ll never grow up, never get old.”
The court heard Lola was a “charming, smiley, bubbly, mischievous little girl”.
Ms James ended her statement by looking once again and speaking directly to Bevan in the dock.
“Kyle. You took the young innocent life of my granddaughter,” she said.
“You killed my Lola and you have broken her family.”
Daniel Thomas, Lola’s father, said his daughter was “as bright as the golden sun” in a statement read on his behalf.
“Lola won’t have another birthday or ride a bike or listen to her favourite story,” he said.
“I will never get to meet my daughter as a teenager or a woman.”
He said he missed his daughter “every single day”.
‘Pushed by the dog’
Bevan, from Aberystwyth, claimed Lola had fallen down the stairs after the family dog – an American bulldog – pushed her.
During the trial, Sinead James described her daughter as a “lovely little girl” and called Bevan a “monster” who “needs to rot in hell”.
“If I had got him out of the house my daughter would still be alive today,” she said.
The judge said Lola’s mother was “very remorseful” and “genuinely devastated” about her death.
During the four-week trial at Swansea Crown Court, the jury heard how Lola was murdered as Sinead James was asleep upstairs.
She said Bevan had woken her at around 7.20am to tell her that Lola had fallen down the stairs and that the dog had “pushed her”.
She told 999 operators that Lola’s face was “swollen” and she was “really scared” after finding her daughter unresponsive on the sofa.
Police believed Bevan had tried to clean the bath after putting Lola in there – as the rest of the house was generally dirty – either to try to revive her or clean her of blood and vomit.
Investigators found a grey onesie stained by both in the corner of the living room.
NSPCC Cymru has called for child protection to be made a “national priority” following Lola’s death.
The charity’s assistant director, Tracey Holdsworth, said the girl’s future had been “cruelly taken away”.
“The Child Practice Review into Lola’s death must establish whether more could have been done by agencies to save her, and drive the action required to help prevent such tragic cases in the future,” she added.