Birmingham, England – Rebecca Shuttleworth, 24, and her boyfriend Luke Southerton, 31, are accused of killing her 2-year-old son, Keanu ‘Kiwi’ Williams. As well as a murder charge, both defendants face one charge each of causing or allowing the death of a child and one charge each of child cruelty. They deny any involvement in the toddler’s abuse and death.
Prosecutors in this case declare the boy had endured several months of neglect and torture at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend. Keanu died as a result of the physical abuse inflicted upon him during the last 48 hours of his life.
Shuttleworth and Southerton had to sit in the Birmingham Crown Court as the jury heard evidence of how Keanu presented with nearly 40 brutal injuries due to being beaten. Keanu died from internal bleeding and was found by paramedics on the sofa of his home, January 9, 2011, according to the Birmingham Mail. The autopsy revealed a history of prior abuse.
The Daily Mail reports the youngster was found with “waxen skin” and “fixed and dilated” eyes after the couple called for help. Keanu was taken to the Heartlands Hospital but had already passed due to the physical trauma. The couple did not report Keanu’s injuries out of fear they would be arrested and only called an ambulance after he was dead.
After giving birth to Keanu in 2008, Shuttleworth participated in 12 weeks of parenting classes, feigning the role of a loving mother. Prosecutor Christopher Hotten accused her of manipulating the social workers, doctors, and care professionals into thinking she was a stable, caring mother. He addressed the court:
“Rebecca Shuttleworth ill-treated, neglected and assaulted her son Keanu and we say that this is not simply a case of being immature or naive or indeed a substandard mother … she was given extensive support by health and social services workers … she attended a 12-week course designed to support her well-being and confidence in parenting and we say it was her family and friends who saw the reality of her treatment of Keanu.”
Relatives and friends said the boy had often been neglected and left in soiled garments and filthy diapers for extended periods.
Hotten voiced his perception of Shuttleworth as a mother who seemed to resent having a son as though the child kept her from living her life as she pleased. Shuttleworth had been seen slapping the boy on his arms, legs, and bottom while swearing and shouting at him.
Currently, Shuttleworth and Southerton are both on bail, and the trial is expected to last up to three months.