Sad: Mum Murders Her Foster Child And Tries To Blame Her Son, 17,
A 'barbaric' mother-of-four who tried to blame her teenage son for the death of a toddler she was fostering was today found guilty of murdering the little girl.
Kandyce Downer, 35, from Weoley Castle, Birmingham, killed 18-month-old Keegan Downer just months after she was made the little girl's legal guardian.
She had beaten the toddler, also known as Shi-Anne, with such force over a number of weeks that the youngster had suffered broken legs and ribs as well as severe head and spine injuries.
Tragic Keegan had collapsed at the family home on September 5 last year and after her death was found to have suffered more than 200 separate injuries - including seven broken ribs. She also had 153 scars on her body, including her face and neck.
Mother-of-four Kandyce Downer,who tried to blame her teenage son for the death 18-month-old Keegan Downer, the toddler she was fostering, was today found guilty of murdering the little girl
‘Barbaric’: Downer with baby Keegan. The infant had more than 200 separate injuries - including seven broken ribs and broken legs. She also had 153 scars on her body, including her face and neck.
Downer had been appointed Keegan's guardian in January 2015 with the blessing of social services, following a formal court hearing.
The little girl's birth mother had been a drug addict, and she was put into foster care shortly after her birth on March 9, 2014. Downer, the ex-wife of a cousin of Keegan's biological father, was paid a weekly fee by the local authority to care for the girl.
But in June 2015, six months after Keegan was put in Downer's care the systematic abuse began.
Following her conviction at Birmingham Crown Court, it can also be revealed that:
Social workers ignored a warning that Downer appeared to be motivated by money, and had refused to see the girl until council agreed her fees;
A charity warned that children such as Keegan were being placed with ‘strangers’ because SGOs were increasingly being used ‘inappropriately’ by councils;
Downer pointed the finger of suspicion at her teenage son when asked in court to explain Keegan’s brutal injuries;
Downer’s own mother had been jailed when she was a toddler for killing her father.
The abuse of Keegan began six months after she was put in Downer's care
Police said it remained a mystery why Downer turned on the child – whose birth father was the cousin of her ex-husband.
But officers suspect the defendant began beating her ‘to take out her frustrations’ after discovering she was pregnant by a married man last June.
The couple met four years ago when they worked at delivery firm Yodel. A source said: ‘The relationship spiralled into a decline as he did not want to commit to her. It is hardly believable, but she seems to have taken out all her anger on Keegan.’
Keegan was the seventh child born to a heroin addict and, like the others, was taken into care within days in March 2014. Her birth father, David Downer, was convicted of drug smuggling and jailed for eight years a month before she was born.
The child spent her first ten months with foster mother Jane Murray before Downer – who had previously unsuccessfully applied to take charge of at least one of Keegan’s siblings – was granted a special guardianship order by a judge following an assessment by Birmingham’s Labour-run city council.
Downer had been appointed Keegan's guardian in January 2015 with the blessing of social services, following a formal court hearing