Kemarni: Court to rule whether sentences in toddler murder case were 'too lenient'

The jail sentences of the couple convicted over the death of tragic toddler Kemarni Watson Darby are being reviewed by the Court of Appeal for being "too lenient".

Kemarni Watson Darby was just three-years-old when murdered
Kemarni Watson Darby was just three-years-old when murdered

Nathaniel Pope was sentenced to life with a minimum of 24 years for the murder of three-year-old Kemarni and his mother Alicia Watson was jailed for 11 years for causing or allowing his death and other child cruelty charges.

Alicia Watson and Nathaniel Pope

However, the UK's Attorney General Suella Braverman MP has now confirmed the Solicitor General Alex Chalk has referred both sentences to the Court of Appeal.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office told the Express & Star: "The Solicitor General was shocked and appalled by this case.

"I can confirm that the Solicitor General has referred the sentences of both Nathaniel Pope and Alicia Watson to the Court of Appeal as he agrees that they appear unduly lenient.

"It is now for the Court of Appeal to decide whether to increase the sentences."

Convicted drug-dealer Pope, 32, was found guilty by a jury in April, following a five-month trial which heard Kemarni had 34 separate areas of external injuries. The boy's ribs had been fractured 19 times over a period of four weeks with the force akin to being thrown off a building.

Watson, 31, was frequently erratic in the dock and witness box, crying, swearing and refusing to answer questions about the death of her boy at her West Bromwich flat in June 2018.

The couple, who blamed each other from the witness box, continued to live together for several months after Kemarni died.

The decision to refer the terms to The Court of Appeal happened after members of the public complained to the Attorney General's office through the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme.

One person, who does not want to be named, who complained about the sentences said: "I didn't think these sentences were long enough, given the high profile cases of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and 16-month-old Star Hobson, so referred them to the Attorney General's office under the Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme."

Justice Amanda Tipples sentenced Pope, from Wolverhampton, and Watson, from Handsworth, at Birmingham Crown Court. Giving her reasons for sentencing Watson for 11 years Justice Tipples explained due to her various mental health conditions being in prison would be more difficult for her than for a normal inmate.

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