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Mother of 18-month-old Alfie Phillips and partner found guilty of murder | UK News

today30/11/2023

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The mother of an 18-month-old boy and her former partner have been found guilty of his murder.

Alfie Phillips died after being beaten in a night where he suffered 70 injuries to his body in Hernhill, Kent.

He suffered broken ribs, arms and a leg, and traces of cocaine were found in his body.

His mother, Sian Hedges, 27, and her former partner Jack Benham, 35, could face life in prison for his murder.

Prosecutor Jennifer Knight KC had told jurors: “It is clear that he had been deliberately injured on more than one occasion, culminating in an assault perpetrated on him during the night of 27 to 28 November 2020 that led to his death.”

She added: “Jack Benham and Sian Hedges were in the caravan together throughout the night.

“Had either defendant not been joining in with the assaults, that defendant who was not part of it would have stopped the attack and removed Alfie Phillips from the caravan, and from the presence of the other who was carrying out these attacks.

“The fact that this did not happen can only be because both defendants agreed that the assaults should take place… they both agreed in meting out some sort of aggressive, violent discipline to Alfie that night, which resulted in his death.”

Both Hedges and Benham denied harming the boy during the trial.

The court was told Benham, who was not the father of Alfie, said he woke up with the boy under his leg and thought he had suffocated him.

Sian Hedges and Jack Benham. Pic: Kent Police
Image:
Sian Hedges and Jack Benham. Pic: Kent Police

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Jurors were told by Benham he and Hedges began their relationship around September 2020 through meeting regularly at the same friend’s home where they bought drugs.

There was also discussion in court about older injuries sustained in the months before his death, and the explanations for them, such as a cut eye from playing with keys and fingers being caught in a dog gate.

Alfie’s father, Sam Phillips, described his son as “good as gold” and “lively”, adding there was “never a dull moment” with him.

The night before Alfie died, Benham said the couple was drinking and chatting while watching YouTube videos, describing the evening as “just normal”.

However, the prosecution said that was when Alfie must have been violently assaulted.

Ms Knight said: “It was all a lie, the truth is you and Sian were both present and involved in that assault, you and Sian both killed Alfie.”

Undated handout photo issued by the Crown Prosecution Office of Alfie Phillips taken the night before he died. Jack Benham accused of murdering the 18-month-old boy said he meant "nothing evil" by a text message sent telling the boy's mother to bite him hard just weeks before his death. Benham, 35, told Maidstone Crown Court he meant the message as a joke in response to when Sian Hedges, 27, his partner at the time, said her little boy had bitten her and it hurt. Issue date: Friday November 27,
Image:
Alfie Phillips the night before he died. Pic: CPS

Reacting to the verdict, Kent Police’s senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Kath Way, said: “Today’s verdict will not bring Alfie back, but it does mean that Hedges and Benham lose their right to freedom and life as they know it.

“Alfie should have been protected and loved by his mum, instead Hedges and Benham inflicted unimaginable suffering on him during a sustained and lengthy night of violence.”

She added that the pair refused to admit what they had done and instead subjected Alfie’s family to a trial where details of “horrendous abuse” were detailed.

“Alfie would have been four now and would have recently started school. Instead, his life was cruelly taken away by those he should have been able to trust the most.”

Hedges and Benham will be sentenced on 19 December.



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