A FORMER Aberystwyth residents has been found guilty of murdering his ex-partner’s two-year-old daughter
Kyle Bevan, 31, who gave his address as Rockland House, Queen’s Road, Aberystwyth, before being remanded in custody last year, has been found guilty of the murder of Lola James in Haverfordwest in June 2020, by a jury at Swansea Crown Court.
Lola’s mother, Sinead James, 30, from Neyland, has been found guilty of causing or allowing her death.
Bevan brutally attacked toddler Lola at her home, causing injuries usually found in car crash victims, the court heard during a month-long trial.
After assaulting Lola, Bevan, rather than phone 999, began searching for information on the internet about head injuries before taking photos and a video of her limp body.
Bevan denied the charge of murder, telling police Lola's injuries were caused by the family dog, an American bulldog called Jessie, which pushed her down the stairs.
The prosecution said the claim was a "deliberate lie to cover up his guilt".
Bevan had lived in the family home in Haverfordwest for four months before he killed Lola.
The court heard he used drugs including Xanax, cannabis and amphetamines, and had a volatile temper.
The jury took 10 hours to find Bevan guilty of murder and James guilty of causing or allowing her death.
Lola, described as a "happy, beautiful and busy little girl", was found to have 101 cuts and bruises on her body.
Lola's dad speaks
Following the verdict, Lola’s biological father, Daniel Thomas, said: “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.”
Lola's grandmother pays emotional tribute
Nicola James, Lola’s maternal grandmother, added: “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.”
Police welcome verdict
Senior Investigating Officer DCI Gareth Roberts welcomed the verdict, saying: “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.”