NINE-year-old Droitwich boy Alfie Steele died after being subjected to child abuse including beatings, a jury heard.

The trial of Carla Scott, 35, and her partner, Dirk Howell, 41, began at Coventry Crown Court on Tuesday, (May 2).

Howell, of Princip Street, Birmingham, admitted child cruelty against other children before his trial, but denies murder, manslaughter, cruelty or causing or allowing the death of Alfie.

Carla Scott denies murder, manslaughter, causing or allowing the death of Alfie and child cruelty offences against Alfie and other children.

Worcester News: REMEMBERED: Alfie SteeleREMEMBERED: Alfie Steele (Image: West Mercia Police)

The jury heard Alfie Steele, who was covered in bruises, had been subject to "far more physical and psychological" discipline than parents typically use bringing up young children. 

Michelle Heeley KC, prosecuting, said “both thought it was acceptable” to hit Alfie with “belts, or a slider, like a heavy-duty flip flop, and use other more sinister forms of punishment.”

A post-mortum examination revealed Alfie had 50 injuries all over his body and the prosecutor said only a handful could be put down to usual childhood bumps and scrapes.

Among his wounds, some abrasions on the left side of his face were allegedly caused by “direct pressure”, with jurors told they would “hear evidence about him being held under water”.

On the day of Alfie’s death, February 18, 2021, Scott rang 999 at 2.24pm claiming Alfie fell asleep in the bath.

She had moved him out of the bath to a bedroom before making the call, the court heard.

Worcester News: DENIAL: Carla ScottDENIAL: Carla Scott (Image: Facebook)

When police arrived at the scene at Vashon Drive, Droitwich, officers noted Alfie was lifeless already.

Ms Heeley said: "He was not breathing and he was cold to the touch, so already cold just six minutes (after Carla Scott made the call)."

Alfie was flown to Worcestershire Royal Hospital but nothing could be done to save him and the nine-year-old was pronounced dead at 3.55pm.

The jury heard Howell had been at the property at the time but left, going to Droitwich railway station, where he was seen running. 

Live: Alfie Steele murder trial of Dirk Howell and Carla Scott gets underway

The prosecutor said, in her interview, Scott initially denied Howell had been at the home but, as interviews progressed, Scott changed her account admitting Howell had in fact been there.

In his interview Howell provided a written statement saying he had "no involvement and did not contribute to Alfie Steele’s death", before making no reply to any questions put to him.

Worcester News: DENIAL: Dirk HowellDENIAL: Dirk Howell (Image: Facebook)

The prosecutor concluded the opening by saying: "Once you have heard all that evidence, the prosecution say you will be sure Alfie suffered an unlawful death, and that he was the victim of child cruelty in the months leading up to his death."

Earlier a jury was sworn in to hear the trial which is expected to last around six weeks, and is being held in front of Judge Mark Wall KC. 

In the days after the death we reported residents of the shocked community left flowers, candles, teddies, cards and balloons with handwritten messages of love and of grief on a table outside the house. 

A blue heart emoji was posted online which, along with blue teddies, became a symbol for mourning Alfie.