The following statements have been issued following the conviction of Kyle Bevan and Sinead James over the death of two-year-old Lola James.
Statement from Senior Investigating Officer DCI Gareth Roberts:
Today’s guilty verdict is welcomed, and our thoughts at this time are with Lola and the family who loved her.
Lola died on July 21, 2020, as a result of horrendous injuries which were inflicted by Kyle Bevan in what must have been a frenzied and extremely violent attack on a helpless two-year-old child.
Lola had 101 external injuries to her body and her death was caused by a catastrophic brain injury, likely caused by blunt force trauma – punching or slapping – shaking, or a combination of both.
Bevan delayed raising the alarm and seeking medical attention for at least an hour after he inflicted the fatal injuries and in the time since he has shown no remorse, emotion or any care for Lola. Consumed by his own self-preservation, Bevan lied and fabricated an accidental stair fall to try and cover his tracks but, with the help of medical experts, we have been able to prove that his actions were deliberate, abhorrent and evil.
Lola should have been able to rely on her own mother to keep her safe from harm and physical risk. However, Sinead James seriously failed in her duty towards her daughter. She was, or at least ought to have been, well aware of the risk of violence which Bevan posed to her child but did nothing to protect Lola from the danger which he presented.
This incident occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sinead James struck up a new relationship with Kyle Bevan in February 2020 and allowed him into her life, moving in with her after only knowing each other for a day – there was then a period of lockdown where Kyle Bevan remained and lived within Sinead James’ household.
Neither Bevan or James were open to any agency at that time and there was no external professional assessment of their new relationship.
This investigation commenced after police officers were called to Princess Royal Way in Haverfordwest on Friday, July 17, 2020 to a report of an injured two-year-old child, falsely presented by Bevan as a stair fall.
Tragically, Lola James had suffered a significant brain injury and died three days later on July 20. Medical experts subsequently noted 101 separate injuries to her body, most of which were determined as abusive inflicted injuries – they were deemed to be non-accidental and not consistent with a stair fall.
Concerns were raised from the outset and an investigation was commenced that has been complex, exhaustive and emotionally demanding for all professionals due to the clear horrific abuse of a vulnerable child.
A significant volume of probative evidence was gathered that contradicted the lies of Bevan, with compelling medical expert opinion being critical.
Specialist officers have supported Lola’s close family throughout the difficult and distressing investigation.
I’d like to thank the community, many of which were brave to provide important witness testimony.
I’d also like to personally thank Lola’s family for the respectful manner that they have conducted themselves as this difficult investigation progressed. The love for Lola is clear and it is a tragedy that will be difficult to overcome, however, I hope this outcome brings some comfort.”
Statement from Nicola James, Lola’s maternal grandmother:
“We would like to thank the police, local authority and all involved for everything they have done to get us to this point. We will be forever grateful for the support we have received from our Family Liaison Officers and the support we have received from Sandy Bears.
“My last memory with Lola is hearing her singing the song ‘Diamonds’ by Rhianna. She and her sister had spent time learning the song and making up a little dance to it, so that they could put on a show for us.
“She will forever be our diamond up in the sky, we will never ever forget her, and we will continue to keep her memory alive. We write her letters, and we talk to her in the sky at night.
“As a family we will never get over this, the loss that we feel is indescribable. We haven’t begun to process all of this, and don’t know how we ever will.
“Lola we love you, we will always love you, and we will miss you forever.”
Daniel Thomas (Lola’s biological father) statement:
“The pain and grief I feel every time I close my eyes and see your perfect little face is unbearable. The pain I feel thinking of all the smiles you gave to me and all the smiles I won’t get a chance to give back to you hurts so much.
“Even to say your name shatters my heart to know you can’t hear my voice anymore, the only reason I can stand here today is for hope that you can see me, see that you were loved and that you deserved to live a full, happy, safe life surrounded by the joy that you gave to others.
“I’m so sorry your short life was filled with so much pain. You are so loved Lola and so missed every single day.
“A great team with much passion has worked together for this day since you’ve left us.
“Special thanks to the investigation team for not leaving any question unanswered or stone unturned, and to my family support officers for keeping me focused and guiding me through the darkest hours along with my closest friends and family.
“The outcome here will never stop the hurt you felt or the hurt that lives inside of me, it’s been a long time coming to see justice and I can only pray that these cruel, evil people that hurt you and allowed you to be hurt, suffer pain and torment until they take their last breath.”