A ‘bright and chatty’ three-year-old was murdered by her mother’s DJ boyfriend in a ‘sustained and forceful’ attack at home in Sheffield, a court heard.
Little Lylah Aaron - who only a day earlier had been dancing at nursery school - suffered a severe brain injury consistent with her head having been struck ‘with a hard object’.
She was covered in bruises consistent with being ‘punched, kicked and slapped’, and she had three broken ribs.
After Lylah died from head injuries in Sheffield Children’s Hospital in February, examinations found evidence of a previous attack, jurors at Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Delroy Catwell, aged 31, of Beck Road, Shiregreen, Sheffield, denies murder.
Prosecutor Bryan Cox QC told jurors: “The defendant was her mother’s boyfriend. At the time he played an active part in her care.”
Mr Cox said Catwell lived with Lylah and her mother Precious Chibanda in Beck Road.
The day before she died Lylah was ‘bright and chatty’ and had taken part in a dancing activity at nursery - where she was ‘known as a confident, bubbly little girl’. On February 8, Precious - a trainee nurse - was working an early shift from 7am, and Catwell was looking after Lylah.
The little girl had been due to attend the Bright Beginners nursery on The Wicker, but at 2.30pm Catwell rang Precious to tell her Lylah hadn’t gone because she was unwell.
Precious arrived home at 4.30pm to find Lylah asleep in bed.
She checked on her twice more and, just before 6pm, found her daughter unresponsive.
“At about 6pm the emergency services received a call from Precious,” said Mr Cox. “She was in a state of panic because Lylah was obviously very ill.”
An ambulance was called and Lylah was rushed to hospital where doctors diagnosed fatal brain damage.
She died at 12.22am on February 9.
Mr Cox said a post mortem examination revealed Lylah had suffered a traumatic head injury, caused by ‘repeated impacts to her face and skull’, which caused swelling and bleeding to her brain.
The head injury was ‘consistent with striking the head with a hard object, or striking the head against a hard object’.
There were numerous bruises on Lylah’s body, face and head, and bruising on her ear ‘strongly suggested’ impact from or onto a hard object.
“The other bruises could have been caused by kicks, slaps or punches,” he said.
“There were fractures of her ribs and bruising to her arm.
“These injuries indicated she had been subjected to a sustained and forceful assault that had occurred within hours of her admission to hospital.
“They had caused her collapse - and, in addition, the doctors found clear evidence she had been subjected to another earlier, separate assault.”
The trial continues.