Sunday 19 November 2017

'Monster' mother faces life for son's cruel murder

A body map showing the locations of some the 37 injuries found on the body of Keanu Williams who who was beaten to death after suffering months of ill-treatment.
A body map showing the locations of some the 37 injuries found on the body of Keanu Williams who who was beaten to death after suffering months of ill-treatment.
Rebecca Shuttleworth was described as a "monster" by a senior detective
Keanu was struck with an object such as a stick or rod with some force.

Matthew Cooper

A mother is facing a life sentence for murdering her two-year-old son after professionals failed to take action to save him from months of "horrifying" ill-treatment and abuse.

Rebecca Shuttleworth was described as a "monster" by a senior detective after being convicted of murdering Keanu Williams and four counts of child cruelty.

Shuttleworth, who will be sentenced  at Birmingham Crown Court, beat Keanu to death after apparently convincing her support worker that she had turned her life around.

The 25-year-old is also known to have explained away numerous injuries to her son.

A serious case review into Keanu's death, which is expected to examine social services' contact with his mother, will be published in the near future.

In a statement issued after Shuttleworth was unanimously convicted following a six-month trial, the chair of Birmingham's Safeguarding Children Board acknowledged chances to take action had been missed.

Jane Held, the independent chair of the multi-agency board, said: "This is an extremely sad case and my sympathies are with those who knew Keanu.

"The person responsible for his death has been held to account. Her partner Luke Southerton has been convicted of wilful assault. It is already clear that there are lessons to learn from how various agencies worked together to support Keanu and his family."

Southerton was cleared by the jury of murder, manslaughter and causing or allowing Keanu's death, but convicted on one count of cruelty.

Shuttleworth closed her eyes briefly, bit her lip, looked upwards and shook her head after the jury found her guilty on all the charges she faced.

Keanu, whose body showed 37 external marks of injury, was pronounced dead on January 9, 2011, after paramedics arrived at Southerton's flat in Old Moat Way, Ward End. Southerton (32) and Shuttleworth, formerly of Hay Mills, Birmingham, both denied any involvement.

Although fatal injuries had been inflicted on the boy up to 48 hours earlier, Shuttleworth did not seek medical help before the 999 call was made at 7.42pm on January 9. The majority of the bruising was to Keanu's lower chest and abdomen, but there were also bruises on the head and back.

A post-mortem also identified "tramline" bruising consistent with Keanu having been struck with an object such as a stick or rod with some force.

A fist-sized tear was found in part of Keanu's abdomen, which had caused substantial bleeding.

Shuttleworth, who faces a mandatory life term, was remanded in custody and will be sentenced alongside Southerton, who remains on bail.

Irish Independent

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