Monday 19 February 2018

Teaching assistant (22) faces life over attack that killed his unborn child

Malorie Bantala outside the Old Bailey in London, as her ex-boyfriend Kevin Wilson, 22, and a 17-year-old accomplice have been found guilty of killing her unborn baby in a savage attack. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Malorie Bantala outside the Old Bailey in London, as her ex-boyfriend Kevin Wilson, 22, and a 17-year-old accomplice have been found guilty of killing her unborn baby in a savage attack. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Emily Pennink

A young man is facing life behind bars after he was convicted of killing his unborn baby by kicking and stamping on his heavily pregnant ex-girlfriend after she refused to have an abortion.

Teaching assistant Kevin Wilson, 22, and a 17-year-old boy were found guilty at the Old Bailey of child destruction and causing grievous bodily harm to Malorie Bantala on June 15 this year.

Earlier that day, the eight months pregnant Marks & Spencer worker had been buying decorations for her baby shower, returning home to Peckham in south east London at around 8pm.

As she approached, Wilson and his accomplice emerged from bushes outside her flat where they had lain in wait disguised in crash helmets.

They launched a vicious attack, targeting Miss Bantala's bump as she lay curled up on the ground, desperately trying to protect her unborn child with one hand.

Miss Bantala, 22, told jurors: "I remember looking at him and then something clicked in my mind and I said 'Oh s***, it's Kevin'. He turned round and we made brief eye contact.

"I didn't have time to think anything because by the time I knew it, I was on the floor.

"Kevin proceeded to kick my stomach, probably three or four times and then he stamped on my stomach twice.

"By then I had screamed 'Kevin' for him to stop but he continued to kick my stomach. They were harsh kicks."

Afterwards, she said Wilson had glanced back as she shouted out to him: "Kevin, I'm going to kill you, watch!"

As the verdicts were returned by the jury of nine women and three men, Miss Bantala became tearful.

She jumped from the well of the court and screamed at Wilson: "I'm going kill you. You don't understand. I hate you. Drop dead."

She then ran from the court in tears.

The attackers were caught on CCTV fleeing on the youth's scooter, running a red light in their haste to get back to the estate where Wilson lived, a mile and a half away in Bermondsey.

Family and neighbours ran to Miss Bantala's aid but the baby boy was already dead.

Miss Bantala immediately told police her child's father's was responsible, saying: "He doesn't want the baby."

She was driven by police to Kings College Hospital where she was treated for life-threatening internal bleeding.

As well as losing six litres of blood, she had broken two fingers in the hand she had used to try to shield her child.

The court heard how Miss Bantala had been in an on-off relationship with Wilson and had turned to him for comfort after the death of a nephew from sickle-cell anaemia.

Miss Bantala decided to keep the baby, despite Wilson's repeated attempts to persuade her to have an abortion because he was not ready for fatherhood.

Later, he became angry, called her a "Jezzy" and tried to deny he was the father when she let slip to a mutual friend.

Wilson apologised for his behaviour as he told jurors: "When I look back on it now, I could have behaved much better."

By May, he said he had "moved on" with another girlfriend and got her pregnant too, although she did not have the baby.

But he denied the attack, claiming he had worked all day at Octavia House, a school for children with behavioural problems, then walked home for a "nap" before leaving the house after 8pm to buy a Mr Kipling cake in a nearby Tesco.

Wilson was arrested the day after the assault while his accomplice was picked up weeks later.

The 17-year-old, who refused to give evidence, told police he had been staying at his grandmother's house and denied even knowing Wilson.

The jury rejected Wilson's explanation and found both defendants guilty. The maximum sentence for the unusual offence of child destruction is life.

The jury was not told that the 17-year-old defendant had himself become a father in August and was said by his lawyer to be "very involved" with the child.

The youth has a string of previous convictions including a robbery during which a woman was punched.

In a victim impact statement, Miss Bantala told how she hated being referred to as the victim when the "real victim" was her beloved son Joel.

She wrote: "Joel never got to meet me properly, never know how much I love him.

"I will never get to see him smile, watch him get his first tooth or to take his first steps. "I will never get to watch him at university or see him graduate. I will never get to be the mother of the groom.

"I love my son so much words cannot describe it. The moment Joel was taken from me I lost everything."

She said she would have brought her son up to be "100 times the man Kevin would ever be".

Miss Bantala said she had nearly lost her womb as a result of the attack and she had been forced to "relive the worst day of my life" during the case.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC adjourned sentencing to a date to be fixed in February.

Malcolm McHaffie, CPS London Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: "The incomprehensibly evil actions of these two defendants have cruelly snatched away the life of an unborn baby boy who was just weeks away from being brought into the world.

"I would like to thank the victim for her courage in giving evidence against her attackers in this heart-breaking case."

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