Dudley man accused of murdering three-year-old is a 'cunning conman', trial hears

A man accused of murdering a three-year-old girl is a “cunning conman” who manipulated the child’s “naive, trusting” mother, their trial has heard.

Kaylee-Jayde Priest was aged three when she died. Photo: BBC
Kaylee-Jayde Priest was aged three when she died. Photo: BBC

Kaylee-Jayde Priest was found dead at the flat where she lived with her mother, Nicola Priest, in Kingshurst, Solihull, on August 9 last year.

Birmingham Crown Court has heard she suffered “a ferocious attack” and died from serious chest and abdominal injuries while medical examinations revealed historical injuries including broken ribs, lower leg fractures and a broken sternum.

Callum Redfern, 21, of Temple Street, Dudley and Priest, 22, of Poplar Avenue, Edgbaston are both accused of Kaylee-Jade’s murder and a separate charge of manslaughter.

In his defence of Priest today, Mr George Carter-Stephenson said: “Redfern is a manipulator, a sly, deceitful, cunning conman who paints the picture he wants to paint to get exactly what he wants.”

Mr Carter-Stephenson said Redfern used Priest for sex and would then leave.

“Love clouds the judgement, it gets in the way of rational thought,” he said.

“You are not necessarily dealing with someone who is that bright,” he said of Priest.

“I say that with the greatest respect - she falls into the lowest one per cent nationally in intellect.

“She is naive, she is immature, she is vulnerable, she is far too trusting and far too readily prepared to accept what Redfern said to her in relation to what he did to Kaylee.

“And she did not want to lose him.”

Mr Carter-Stephenson pointed to Redfern previously taking £1,000 from Priest to buy a BMW car two and a half months after they had started their relationship in April last year.

“She was conned into the idea it was going to be a family car,” said Mr Carter-Stephenson.

“It was a BMW - a fast car. How gullible is she?

“She can’t see he is simply using her.

“Nicola Priest gave him £1,000, he paid £600 and pocketed the other £400.

“Some people might think that is a tad dishonest especially when you know the person giving you the money is struggling - has financial problems.”

In the first interview Priest gave to police following her daughter’s death she said: “I never thought that the man I was in love with was hurting my daughter.

“I trusted him, I believed in him. I thought Callum Redfern was going to be my partner for life.

“I loved him deeply, never realised he had caused injuries to my daughter’s ribs, sternum or anywhere else.”

The court heard that Kaylee’s father had left Priest when she was pregnant and she struggled with the break-up of a subsequent relationship.

Mr Carter-Stephenson said that Redfern has no convictions for violence but has a “fiery temper” that “appears to erupt quite suddenly”.

He told the court of an occasion when Redfern stamped on an ex-partner’s car and took a hammer to the engine.

“The injuries inflicted on Kaylee on August 8 in what doctors agree was a single outburst of violence with a number of blows being struck in a short period of time is totally consistent with that sudden loss of control that Redfern is prone to,” said Mr Carter-Stephenson.

Defending Redfern, Mr Gurdeep Garcha said: “We submit Callum Redfern did not have a hand in these offences.

“Although the prosecution has tried to get pieces of the jigsaw to fit, they don’t.

“Try as Nicola Priest might to direct blame, the spotlight remains fixed on her.

“That is what the evidence shows.

“She is the person with the opportunity to be violent to Kaylee that night and the mindset to be violent to Kaylee that night.

“To convict Callum Redfern on this limited and unconvincing evidence creates a risk of grave injustice.

“Over the weekend I was trying to imagine worse circumstances than Kaylee died in but what would come close would be to convict the wrong man of this child’s death.”

Redfern and Priest deny Kaylee-Jade’s murder, a separate alternative charge of manslaughter and a charge of causing or allowing the death of a child and cruelty to a child, between June 12 and August 3, 2020.

The trial continues.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News