Mom accused of murdering daughter, 3, tells court boyfriend smacked her ‘too many times’

Mom accused of murdering daughter, 3, tells court boyfriend smacked her ‘too many times’

A Mom accused of killing her toddler has blamed her boyfriend for smacking the three-year-old “too many times”, a court heard.

Kaylee-Jayde Priest's body was discovered alongside a "dirty mattress" in a bedroom with no carpet, curtains or lightbulb in Kingshurst, West Midlands, last summer.

Nicola Priest told Birmingham Crown Court that she trusted her partner Callum Redfern and it did not cross her mind that he would injure Kaylee-Jade.

Priest, 23, and Redfern, 22, have both denied murder, manslaughter and allowing the death of a child between August 7 and 10 last year.

The pair have also both pleaded not guilty to child cruelty, with a court previously hearing that the tot had been dead for some time when the emergency services arrived on August 9.

Three-year-old Kaylee-Jadye died in August last year after suffering horror injuries.

The mom was described as “distressed” by the ambulance staff who arrived on the scene, crying out: "I don't think she is alive".

Priest told the court that she had begun dating Redfern, who she had known for eight years, after breaking up with a former partner.

She said: "When I first contacted him it was more for seeing him again. The first time I saw him face-to-face was May 18. I had not seen him for a long time.

"It was in my flat at Kingshurst House. It went further straight away, we had sex. I wanted it with him. I just felt alone.

“I felt I needed that person to help me and want to be with me and not someone who was going to cheat on me and hurt me."

He told me he had smacked her. It was mainly bedtimes, Nicola Priest

"I just felt I loved him and would do anything for him."

Priest went on to say that Redfern was “amazing” with her daughter, and said it was “nice” to have help from someone she “trusted.

She told a jury that to discipline Kaylee-Jayde she would tap her on the hand, put her on the naughty step and would occasionally smack her – admitting Redfern would also tell off the tot from June.

Priest added: "It would vary. I would hear it or I would see it. He told me he had smacked her. It was mainly bedtimes.

"I said: 'She is three and she does not understand', basically. I didn't say anything to stop it. I was scared and did not know how to ask him.

"He just told me he had smacked her. He would raise his hand back so it was quite a hard smack.

"I said: 'She was three' but it never changed him from doing what he did."

She also claimed that Redfern would smack her daughter on the bottom “too many times”, but that it “didn’t cross her mind” that he may have been injuring her.


Birmingham Crown Court previously heard that Priest made a 999 call for help but when paramedics arrived Kaylee had already been dead for several hours.

The ambulance crew put defibrillator pads on Kaylee-Jayde to detect signs of life, and recalled finding "blood pooling" on the right hand side of the child's torso.

They also found "bruising clusters" on the child's left side and a "red abrasion mark" on her chest, the court heard.

Prosecutor Andrew Smith QC told the court that Priest and Redfern were in a close relationship by the middle of June.

He added that the pair had sent messages which showed an “uncaring attitude” towards the three-year-old.

Mr. Smith said Kaylee had suffered injuries in the months and weeks leading up to August 8, when Redfern came to Kingshurst House with a friend.

He alleged that Kaylee was subjected to a "ferocious assault" leaving her with severe injuries to her chest, including a punctured lung and internal rupturing of the intestines.

She also suffered 19 rib fractures in the hours before her death, it was claimed.

Mr. Smith said: "The catalyst may have been Kaylee interrupting them spending time together.

"They bear joint responsibility for Kaylee's murder."

The trial continues.