A father to be brutally assaulted his pregnant ex-girlfriend by stomping on her stomach which resulted in the death of their unborn son was jailed for life on Thursday, February 11.
Kevin Wilson, 21, a teaching assistant, of Stansfield House, Longfield Estate, Bermondsey had previously been convicted of child destruction and grievous bodily harm with intent on Malorie Bantala after planning the attack because he did not want to be a father.
A 17-year-old from the Bermondsey area recruited by Wilson to help in the assault was also found guilty at the Old Bailey of child destruction and GBH was given an extended 14 year sentence; 10 years in custody and four years on licence. The judge lifted reporting restrictions and he can be named as Taffari Grant, of Fairby House, Longfield Estate, Bermondsey.
Shortly after 20:00hrs on 15 June 2015, heavily pregnant Malorie was walking down Talfourd Place, Peckham when she was approached by two men who appeared out of the bushes wearing motorbike crash helmets. They pushed her to the ground and continually kicked and stamped on her stomach. The suspects then ran off, still wearing the crash helmets, in the direction of Denman Road and made off on a motorcycle or scooter.
Malorie, who was 32 weeks’ pregnant, was rushed to King's College Hospital but her unborn baby boy could not be saved and was stillborn by emergency C-section. Malorie, aged 21, needed life-saving surgery to control bleeding from a major artery and also suffered fractures to her right hand as she tried to protect her stomach during the attack.
The court heard Malorie and Wilson had begun a short relationship in the summer of 2011 while at university. After they split up they stayed on good terms, occasionally seeing each other. In December 2014, Malorie discovered she was pregnant and told Wilson over the phone. He said he was not ready for a child. Malorie decided she wanted to keep the baby and informed Wilson who responded: "Why are you doing this to me?"
Two days later Wilson arranged for Malorie to have a consultation at an abortion clinic in Blackfriars. She was asked what treatment she wanted and explained she thought she was there just to discuss the options. Wilson was angry as they left together, saying he could not have a child and urging Malorie to do him a "favour" by terminating the pregnancy. Malorie said he could just leave but he replied that it wasn't an option and she needed to get rid of the baby. He called her selfish and a bitch.
They met again a few days later where Wilson tried again over dinner to persuade Malorie to have an abortion. Their relationship deteriorated. Wilson began denying he was the father, even after Malorie informed his mother. Two weeks later, on 25 May, Wilson made his first call to the 17-year-old. From then, there were regular telephone calls between the pair up until the day of the attack on Malorie.
On Sunday, 14 June, Malorie went to buy supplies for a baby shower she was planning and noticed two males wearing motorbike helmets sitting on some railings close to her home. Other neighbours also spotted the males in the area throughout that day. The prosecution suggested the pair were carrying out a ‘recce’ in preparation for the attack on Malorie.
Two males wearing the same crash helmets were seen in the area from around 16:00hrs on the day Malorie was assaulted, although Wilson was not one of them, having been caught on CCTV leaving work elsewhere and returning to his home address.
However, the prosecution said Wilson and the 17-year-old then travelled to Peckham, loitering in the area for some time before carrying out the attack.
Malorie immediately recognised one of her attackers as Wilson and called out his name as he made off, causing him to turn and look back at her. Wilson, learning he was wanted, attended Walworth police station on 16 June 2015 and was arrested.
The 17-year-old was arrested on 24 August 2015. Searches of his home and the surrounding area found two motorbike helmets, one in a communal bin. A registration document showed he had owned a scooter, but he claimed he had since sold it on. Police later disproved this and also his alibi that he was out for a meal with relatives at the time of the attack. Both defendants were subsequently charged.
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Pack, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said upon conviction:
"This has been a truly shocking case. Shocking that a man would plan and carry out such a violent and abhorrent attack with the sole intention of destroying the life he had helped create. Also, shocking that any person would help him in committing this crime. But Wilson was not a willing father-to-be. The court heard how selfish and manipulative he is. He didn't want a baby or the responsibility one would bring. But Malorie loved baby Joel and was looking forward to motherhood. So Wilson threatened her - he threatened her emotionally that he would commit suicide or that he would move to Ghana; and when none of these tactics worked he took matters into his own hands and brutally assaulted her with such tragic consequences.
"Wilson carefully planned this attack. Just as he had manipulated others he similarly sought to thwart the police investigation by laying a false trail to evade justice. It's clear that the jury saw through Wilson's account. Today is not about Kevin Wilson. Instead it is very much about achieving justice for Malorie and Joel. No one who hears or reads Malorie's statement about the impact this has had on her, can fail to be moved by the hopes and dreams she had for Joel. All of those hopes which have been so cruelly taken away from Malorie before Joel even had a chance to start living his life. Our thoughts are very much with Malorie and her family at this time."
In a victim impact statement Malorie said:
"People often refer to me as the "victim" of a horrific attack, which I honestly hate. I feel like I'm the only person who feels that I'm not the victim, the real victim of this attack is my son Joel; an innocent baby who did nothing bad to anyone. My attackers had the opportunity at a life, they've lived, they've loved, they've travelled, and they've had life-changing experiences. My son will never have that.
"Joel never got to meet me properly, he'll never know how much I love him, I'll never get to see him smile, see his first set of teeth, watch him struggle as he learns to crawl or watch him take his first steps. I'll never take him to his first day at school, attend a parents' evening or watch his Year 6 play. I'll never watch him set off for his first day at secondary school, meet his friends who he'll refer to as brothers, meet his first girlfriend and buy his suit for prom. I'll never be able to teach him how to drive, we'll never get to argue about the state of his room, about why he constantly keeps plates and cups in there, or even why he chooses to leave the toilet seat up. I'll never get to embarrass him at his 18th birthday party, or watch him go on his first lads' holiday. We'll never get to take him to university and then see him graduate. I'll never get to be the mother of the groom and watch my first baby marry a woman that he loves a little bit less than me. I'll never get to meet my grandchildren. I love my son so much, words cannot even describe it.
"These are only some of the things that I envisioned in my life with Joel, and that was taken away from me in a split second. The moment Joel died inside of me I lost everything, literally. Life as I knew it no longer made any sense, I lost myself, I often thought I no longer had a purpose in the world, if Joel isn't here then why am I?
"So now I'm left with a suitcase full of his clothes, hand prints and foot prints, and some pictures. Till today I regret not holding my son when I had the opportunity to. However, at the time it was all too painful physically and emotionally. Out of this whole experience the worst part was the funeral, the thought of burying him was unbearable, so when I had to do it I can actually say that was the worst day of my life, till today I choose not to speak about it.
"Yet I have to live with these ugly scars, which are a permanent reminder. I think about what has happened to me 24/7, it's the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing before I sleep. You can only imagine some of the dreams and nightmares I endure. Then there's a gaping hole inside that will always be filled with nothing but pain, loneliness and anger. I'm going through all of this at the age of only 22 years.
"If I was given the opportunity to raise Joel I know that I would have raised a wonderful, responsible, strong man. A man that would have been 100 times the man Kevin could ever be. But due to the assault which led to the death of my son, an inhumane, brutal and sickening attack on my son, I nearly died also. I very nearly lost my womb. I don't think I would have been able to live if that had happened, if Kevin and the youth had taken from me my right to be a mother. I thank God that I'm still alive and I still have my womb. Kevin and the youth didn't care; they didn't care for the consequences of their actions. I was a 32-week pregnant woman and those two stamped and kicked my belly.
"I constantly think of what happened without having to be reminded. But I am reminded and I have had to relive with people other than my friends and family. I have had to recount everything and relive the worst day of my life for the police investigation and now for the trial at court. My personal life has become public knowledge when I didn't want it to be, I am a private person, and I didn't want my intimate details shared with everybody, but it has.
"I have had the press visit my family home and speak with my family when I didn't want them to and they have come and found me where I didn't want to be found. My pictures and personal life has been spread across the national media, I didn't give them permission for this. Strangers now know who I am and I don't want them too. I have had to move home, away from my family, further away from my friends and I don't know how I can go back to work, my life has been turned upside down. Because of Kevin and the youth, my privacy was taken from me; they have changed my life forever.
"I have been the last one to find out evidence in the case, I understand why, but I haven't been allowed to know the detail of what happened to me, what happened to my son. I haven't been allowed to mourn as should have been allowed me. I have had to put my life on hold so that Kevin Wilson and the youth could stand trial for killing my son.
"But now, eventually I have learned how they had planned the attack, how they tried to interfere with the police investigation and lied and how Kevin has used other people to lie for him and how he has dragged them to his disgusting level. I have learned how they were not brave enough to admit what they did to me. Kevin is still deceiving everyone, he wasn't even brave enough to admit to his mother that he was the father, even at trial I found out that he was still deceiving people, all due to his selfishness.
"I have never known the youth and I have no reason why he would have wanted to hurt me and my son, perhaps I will never know. But he had no reason to kill my baby and he should have known that. Kevin did have a reason to kill my son; he never wanted to be a father to his child. It was always about him and how it was going to stop him having the life that he wanted, it has always been about Kevin and the life that he wanted to have.
"Now that Kevin and the youth are guilty of killing my son, attacking me, I want them to be suitably punished by the law for their lies, their lack of guilt, their deception and most importantly for taking the life of my son Joel from me. They have taken a healthy life and taken a part of me that I will never get back. I want them to pay in return for what they have done, for killing a baby before it had any opportunity to live life."