Mother, 34, and boyfriend, 39, face trial over murder of nine-year-old boy who was ‘neglected and abandoned’ and found in a critical condition at their Worcestershire home
- Alfie Steele, nine, was found in a critical condition by police on February 18, 2021
- Paramedics performed CPR, but Alfie died after being airlifted to hospital
- Mother Carla Scott, 34, and partner Dirk Howell, 39, are charged with murder
- They both denied the charge or causing or allowing the death of a child in hearing at Worcester Crown Court today
A mother and her boyfriend will go on trial accused of murdering her nine-year-old son and subjecting him to months of cruelty.
Alfie Steele was discovered at the family home in Droitwich, Worcestershire, on February 18 last year.
He was airlifted to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital in a critical condition but died hours later.
His mother Carla Scott, 34, and her partner Dirk Howell, 39, today denied murder and causing or allowing the death of a child.
Howell admitted causing cruelty to a person under 16 between July 13, 2019 and February 18, 2021 while Scott denied the charge.
Nine-year-old Alfie Steele (pictured) who was found in a critical condition on February 18 and later died after being airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham
Carla Scott (left) and Dirk Howell (right) will go on on trial at Worcester Crown Court charged with the murder of Scott’s nine-year-old son Alfie Steele
The couple are accused of ‘wilfully assaulting, ill-treating, neglecting and abandoning’ Alfie in the run up to his death.
They both appeared via video link from their prisons for the 20-minute hearing at Worcester Crown Court.
After suffering difficulties with the live feed to HMP Hewell, Howell shouted: ‘This is ridiculous. I can’t hear you. How am I supposed to do a court case when it is like this?’
‘From start to finish, the behaviour of this court has been disgusting.’
Alfie was said to be at a ‘significant risk of serious physical harm’ and Scott either ’caused his death by her own unlawful act’ or ‘failed to take steps’ to protect him.
Prosecutors claim ‘having the responsibility for Alfie Steele, a child under that age, wilfully assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed the said Alfie Steele in a manner likely to cause the said Alfie Steele unnecessary suffering or injury to health’.
The pair were remanded in custody and will appear at court for a six-week trial at the city court on October 4.
Following Alfie’s death, devastated relatives paid tribute to the football and rugby-mad youngster, who attended Witton Middle School, in Droitwich.
His grandad Paul Scott said: ‘We are completely devastated by the loss of Alfie, he had a smile that would melt butter.
Alfie was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham after he was found in a critical condition at his home
‘He was intelligent and inquisitive, and was courageous like a lion; he was a good Christian boy who was full of God.
‘He would never shy away from anything and had no fear.
‘He loved Worcester Warriors Rugby Club and I will always have my lovely memories of taking him to watch Arsenal matches.’
Alfie’s brother and sisters said: ‘Alfie was a bright boy, and he was always creative and imaginative.
‘We loved to watch videos and play football with him and we are going to miss telling him to shut up at night.
‘We love him and he is always going to be in our hearts.’
Locals residents marked Alfie’s death by displaying blue teddies, and drawings of bears, in their windows.
One said: ‘He was such a smiley, happy boy. When I saw the two air ambulances land by the house I just felt numb.
‘It’s just heartbreaking for a life to be lost at such a young age.’