'Uncaring' mum and boyfriend found guilty of killing Kaylee-Jayde Priest, 3

5 August 2021, 18:38 | Updated: 5 August 2021, 19:44

Kaylee-Jayde Priest, aged 3, died in August last year
Kaylee-Jayde Priest, aged 3, died in August last year. Picture: West Midlands Police

By Sophie Barnett

The mother of a three-year-old girl who died after suffering severe injuries has been convicted of her manslaughter along with her partner, days after threatening to kill her in a text message.

Kaylee-Jayde Priest was found dead at a flat where she lived with her mother, Nicola Priest, on August 9 last year, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

Priest, who's 23, and her 22-year-old partner Callum Redfern - who was also convicted of manslaughter - blamed each other during the trial.

Described as a "happy child", three-year-old Kaylee was found to have died from serious chest and abdominal injuries.

Medical examinations later showed she had also suffered historical injuries including broken ribs, lower leg fractures and a broken sternum, the court heard.

Priest rang police on the day of Kaylee's death, but a jury convicted the mother after hearing the youngster had been "dead before the call was made".

Both Priest and Redfern - who pointed the blame at each other but were at the time in a "close sexual relationship" - were unanimously cleared of murder but convicted of the child's manslaughter on Thursday.

Nicola Priest and Callum Redfern have been convicted of the manslaughter of Kaylee-Jayde Priest
Nicola Priest and Callum Redfern have been convicted of the manslaughter of Kaylee-Jayde Priest. Picture: West Midlands

In a text message exchange on July 24 last year, days before Kaylee's death, Priest told Redfern: "I'm gonna kill her... because she keeps leaving the living room or going in the kitchen, so I've paled (hit) her one and smacked her for shitting in her nappy."

Redfern said: "Good - give her one from me."

Priest replied: "I will, babe."

Three days later, Redfern messaged Priest saying: "I'm going to keep the little brat away from me... sick of your spunking daughter."

The messages painted a vivid picture of the "uncaring attitude from Priest and Redfern towards Kaylee", prosecutors said.

Jurors also heard how Priest would hit Kaylee around the head and refer to her as a "f****** brat", while the youngster was also heard crying "in a fearful tone".

Neighbours in a flat below at Kingshurst House, Solihull, recalled hearing a bang above and then Kaylee crying, before allegedly hearing Priest say: "I'll just say she fell off the bed."

Priest was also found guilty of cruelty to a child, relating to the youngster's historical injuries, but Redfern was cleared of that charge.

Kaylee's grandmother Debbie Windmill said the impact of her death would live with her for the rest of her life.

In a statement, she said: "I could never stop staring at the smile on her beautiful face.

"I loved every moment watching her develop to nearly school age; preparing to buy my first grandchild her pre-school uniform was something that filled me with such happiness.

"I couldn't wait to see her in it, but this opportunity was stolen from me in the most brutal of ways.

"Everybody deserves the gift of life. Kaylee-Jayde deserved to show the world who she could have been and what greatness she could have brought to this world. Nanny will forever hold you in her heart."

Detective Inspector Adam Jobson, said: "This is a really horrific set of circumstances and I cannot imagine for one second what Kaylee-Jayde's family must be going through, they've lost their three-year-old family member at the hands of her own mother and Nicky Priest's boyfriend, Callum.

"It is a grim picture.

"I don't think, sadly, we will ever fully know what has happened, we'll never get that full picture, both have not admitted their own responsibility.

"One thing is clear, Nicky Priest has failed her daughter, she's failed to protect her and she should be - being a mother to that little girl - the one person who should have been able to protect her."

Priest, of Poplar Avenue, Edgbaston, Birmingham, and Redfern, of Temple Street, Dudley, West Midlands, will be sentenced on Friday.