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Heavily pregnant woman beaten on the street by ex in bid to kill baby, court hears

NewsBy Sunday World
Court sketch of Kevin Wilson
Court sketch of Kevin Wilson

A heavily pregnant young woman was brutally beaten in the street by her ex-boyfriend intent on killing their unborn baby boy, a court heard.

Marks & Spencer shop assistant Malorie Bantala, 22, refused Kevin Wilson's pleas not to go ahead with having the child so on the evening of June 15, he allegedly took matters into his own hands and recruited a teenager to help.

Disguised in motorcycle helmets, the pair set upon Miss Bantala in the street near her home in Peckham, south London, deliberately targeting her stomach in a "cowardly and callous attack", jurors were told.

The young woman was left with life-threatening injuries and the baby boy was delivered stillborn by emergency Caesarian section at 32 weeks gestation.

Teaching assistant Wilson, 22, and a 17-year-old youth who cannot be named for legal reasons, are on trial accused of causing grievous bodily harm to Miss Bantala and child destruction.

Opening the case at the Old Bailey, prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC said: "It was a cowardly and callous attack, each male wearing a motorcycle helmet in an apparent effort to conceal his identity.

"It is the prosecution case that one of the attackers was the unborn baby's father - Kevin Wilson. He had made it clear that he didn't want the baby to be born and was not pleased when Miss Bantala informed others that he was the father.

"We say that he took matters into his own hands and decided that he would end the pregnancy by violence."

At the time of the attack, Miss Bantala, then 21, lived with her mother and sister in Peckham while Wilson lived a mile and a half away with his mother, stepfather and brothers on the Longfield Estate in Bermondsey.

Miss Bantala and Wilson met in the summer of 2011, ahead of their first term at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton.

They embarked on a sexual relationship but it fizzled out in the middle of their first year, although they remained friendly.

Last summer, during a group holiday to Ibiza, they slept together again, Mr Rees told the jury of nine women and three men.

Their baby was conceived around November 15 last year when Miss Bantala turned to Wilson following the death of her five-year-old nephew from sickle cell anaemia.

The following month, she phoned him to say she was pregnant and Wilson reacted by telling her he was not ready to be a father.

On being informed that she had decided to keep the baby, he cut her off but rang back to ask: "Why are you doing this to me?"

Wilson went on to arrange a visit to an abortion clinic but became angry when she still refused to end the pregnancy, accusing her of being "selfish".

A few days later, he made a further attempt to get her to agree to an abortion when they had dinner at Nando's in London Bridge, the court heard.

In May, Miss Bantala was annoyed to learn on social media that Wilson had moved on and she confided in a mutual friend that he was the father of her unborn child.

Wilson found out and called her a "jezzy", accusing her of sleeping around and demanding she stop spreading the story about him, the court heard.

She responded by visiting his home and telling his mother that her son had made her pregnant, jurors were told.

On the day of the attack, Miss Bantala had been buying decorations online for a baby shower with a friend.

As she arrived home at around 8pm, she heard "rustling in the bushes" outside and two males in crash helmets emerged.

Despite hiding his face behind a scarf, she recognised the taller of the two as her ex-boyfriend by his clothes and posture, Mr Rees said.

She was knocked to the ground and Wilson began stamping on her and kicking her belly with "vicious blows" as Miss Bantala curled up on the ground, her right hand protecting her unborn baby.

The second male joined in and the victim shouted "Kevin" in a vain attempt to get them to stop, Mr Rees said.

Neighbours who witnessed the attack heard her scream and shout "Kevin, I'm going to kill you, watch" before the culprits made off on a Vespa scooter.

The pair were caught jumping a red light on the route back to the Longfield Estate, the court heard.

Jurors were told that when Miss Bantala shouted out to "Kevin", the taller figure turned his head to look back at her as he was leaving the scene. She also thought that they had briefly made eye contact before the attack.

Phone data showed that both defendants had left their mobile on the Longfield Eastate, in what Mr Rees said was an attempt to conceal the fact they had gone to Miss Bantala's address.

He told jurors that the victim would be giving evidence in court tomorrow morning.