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Man who killed Lola James had ‘hair-trigger volatility’, judge told

28 Jul 2023 4 minute read
Kyle Bevan’ and Sinead James, Lola James mother. Photo Dyfed-Powys Police

A drug addict given a life sentence after being convicted of murdering his two-year-old stepdaughter had “hair-trigger volatility” and threatened to kill his mother, a civil court judge has heard.

Mr Justice Mostyn, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, said the picture Kyle Bevan’s mother painted of him was “truly disturbing”.

Bevan, 31, of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, was jailed in April after being found guilty following a trial at Swansea Crown Court of murdering Lola James in July 2020.

Trial judge Mr Justice Griffiths ruled that Bevan must spend at least 28 years in prison before being considered for release on licence.

Lola’s mother, Sinead James, 30, also of Haverfordwest, was found guilty of causing or allowing the youngster’s death and given a six-year jail term.

Mr Justice Mostyn had separately considered the case, at private hearings, and made findings of fact.

Social services bosses at Pembrokeshire County Council had asked Mr Justice Mostyn to make decisions relating to the welfare of other children.

He had overseen a behind-closed-doors trial, in the summer of 2021, at a family court in Swansea.

Mr Justice Mostyn’s ruling was kept under wraps until criminal proceedings had ended – to prevent jurors being influenced – but has now been published.

‘Gratuitous violence’

The judge concluded that Bevan “abusively inflicted Lola’s injuries” early on Friday July 17 2020, and had previously inflicted “gratuitous violence” on the little girl.

Lola’s mother was asleep when the little girl suffered her injuries which caused her death, Mr Justice Mostyn concluded.

But he said he was satisfied, “to a level appreciably higher than a balance of probability”, that James was aware that Bevan had been abusing Lola, “yet did nothing” to protect her.

Mr Justice Mostyn also heard how Bevan had threatened to kill his mother, Alison Bevan, who had worked on a nursing ward.

She had described her son’s “hair-trigger volatility” and painted a “truly disturbing” picture, Mr Justice Mostyn said.

“Alison Bevan explained in disarmingly frank evidence that her son had a history of drug abuse going back to his teenage years,” said Mr Justice Mostyn in a ruling which has now been published online.

“Alison Bevan explained to me that her son had always had an anger problem with her.

“Fury would erupt when she would not provide him with money or with prescription drugs which he expected her to steal for him from the nursing ward on which she worked.

“This had been going on for years.”

Loss of control

Mr Justice Mostyn added: “She explained that when he loses his temper there is shouting and screaming, intimidation and loss of control.

“When out of control and raging he had threatened to kill her.

“This had happened on four or five occasions.”

Mr Justice Mostyn went on: “The picture that she painted of her own son treating her with such contempt and malevolence was truly disturbing.”

Bevan had denied murdering Lola.

He blamed the family’s pet dog for pushing Lola down the stairs of the home he shared with James, in Haverfordwest.

Judges heard that Bevan had moved in soon after connecting with James on Facebook.

Lola was killed months later.

Mr Justice Mostyn said: “By any objective standards the formation of her relationship with Mr Bevan on 18 February 2020, moving from being strangers to cohabitants in the space of a few hours, is almost impossible to comprehend.

“It does demonstrate an extreme neediness on the part of the mother and a readiness to surrender basic responsibility in order to fill her needs.”

He said James, who had also pleaded not guilty, had been assessed as having a low IQ.

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