The mum of a selfie-obsessed killer called social services about her granddaughter before the three-year-old’s death.
Nicola Priest, 23, and her boyfriend Callum Redfern, 22, were yesterday found guilty of manslaughter over the death of Kaylee-Jayde Priest.
It has now emerged that Priest’s own mother Debbie Windmill previously reported her daughter to social services.
Priest called Kaylee a ‘rat’ and a ‘little b****’ and left her in a bedroom without a lightbulb, curtains and a proper carpet.
Kaylee died after a ‘ferocious assault’ at her home in Solihull where she lived with the mum-of-two, who the court was told had low intelligence.
Birmingham Crown Court heard both Priest and boyfriend Redfern blamed each other for the death.
Priest from Edgbaston, and Redfern were both cleared of murder yesterday but were both found guilty of manslaughter.
Priest was also found guilty of a charge of child cruelty.
Now it has emerged Priest’s own mother Debbie Windmill had been so concerned about Kaylee that she had alerted social services – but it is unclear what if any action was taken.
That was despite witnesses calling the flat ‘grubby’ and Kaylee’s bedroom having no lightbulb, no curtains and no proper carpet.
West Midlands Crown Prosecution lawyer Wendy Bounds, who oversaw the CPS case, said of Ms Windmill: “She was trying to alert them to the fact that her daughter had this child, that she had left home, and I think she was concerned for her.
“They did come out and check and it all seemed to be okay, she told anybody who came to the flat that she was redecorating.
“She got the tenancy of the flat with the father of the second baby and then that relationship ended and she stayed there.
“It’s very sad that children have to lose their lives before a spotlight is shone on what’s happening in the home, very sad.”
It is not yet clear which authority Debbie Windmill contacted with concerns about her granddaughter.
Dudley and Sandwell councils said they had no involvement with Kaylee.
Prosecutor Ms Bounds said that bringing charges when both defendants blame each other can be very difficult.
She said: “Years ago there were a series of reported high profile cases where a child had died from serious injuries. The only two people present in the home with them were their parents, or carers, and neither said anything about the cause of death.
“As the prosecution was unable to say which of them was the perpetrator or whether they had acted jointly, these cases were stopped by the judge on a point of law and did not result in convictions.
” The offence of causing or allowing the death of a child was brought in specifically to address that particular issue.
“One of the results of the change in legislation is that there has been a change in procedure.
“It is no longer possible for a case to be stopped by the judge before the end all the time the new offence of causing or allowing the death of a child remains. so a case of murder or manslaughter can then be considered by the jury.
“It also means that defendants are more likely to have to give an account to the jury as to what went on and hopefully for further evidence to emerge.
“If the defendant chooses not to give evidence , as Mr Redfern did in this case, then an inference may be drawn as to the reason why they have chosen not to.”
The long Covid lockdowns had also been an issue in preparing the case, Ms Bounds added.
She said: “Covid affected listings of trials because trials were stopped immediately after lockdown was first imposed. This meant that people who were remanded in custody might stay in custody longer whilst awaiting a confirmed trial date.
” There have been limits to the number of defendants that can be accommodated for trial. If we had lost the trial date in this case it may have been postponed for some considerable time.
“Another consequence might have been that prosecution counsel might not have been available for a different trial date.
“It was important to prioritise this case for trial as both defendants were remanded in custody from the outset and there are custody time limits that apply and an expectation that trials will be heard in a reasonable time frame. There was much to do to get this case ready.
“The work included gathering the medical evidence of all of the injuries. This required reports from multiple medical experts in a number of medical subspecialities. All these reports had to be obtained before the case was ready for trial and this proved to be challenging.
“We were very grateful to all of the doctors for providing their expert reports within the time allowed by the Courts. That in turn facilitated the forensic pathologist’s work. He too in provided his report in time for the trial date.”
The court heard little Kaylee’s body had 68 new and old injuries. The fact she had survived such abuse may have seen her attackers believe she would recover from the final, fatal assault.
Ms Bounds said: “This wasn’t the first time that Kaylee had been injured.
“Sometimes when children have been injured and they’ve recovered from it, the perpetrators tend to imagine that they are resilient and going to recover from whatever happened the next time.
“Even when there is an escalating pattern of violence, they imagine that they’re going to recover from it because they have before.”
Callous Priest and Redfern, of Temple Street in Lower Gornal, Dudley, both blamed each other for the injuries inflicted.
But a jury saw through their lies and found they were both responsible for the death of Kaylee Jayde-Priest.
They will both be sentenced today.