DIRK Howell has been found guilty of the murder of Alfie Steele while the nine year old's mother has been found guilty of manslaughter. 

Following a six-week trial at Coventry Crown Court the jury returned the verdict after just over 10 hours this afternoon (June 13). 

The jury foreman stood and when asked, said they had found Dirk Howell, 41, of Princip Street, Birmingham, guilty of murdering the nine-year-old. 

Alfie's mother, Carla Scott, 35, of Vashon Drive, Droitwich, was found not guilty of that charge but was found guilty of manslaughter. 

Remembering Alfie: "Courageous" smiling nine-year-old who lived at house of horrors

Carla Scott was also found guilty of child cruelty offences against Alfie and other children - Howell having admitted those charges before the trial.

Neither showed any emotion as the verdicts were read out but before being taken down to the cells, Scott could be seen crying.

Harrowing evidence of the cruelty Alfie was subjected to in the years before his death was heard during the trial.

Worcester News: BOY: Alfie SteeleBOY: Alfie Steele

Alfie was hit with “belts, or a slider, like a heavy-duty flip flop" while "other more sinister forms of punishment”, were also used the prosecutor had told the jury.

Punishments had included Alfie being locked out of the Copcut home - the court being played chilling footage recorded by a neighbour in 2019 of Alfie Steele screaming to be let back in.

Withholding food was also used as a punishment, Alfie's school raising concerns in October 2020 that he was "constantly hungry" with them having to send food home.

Social services missed an opportunity to prevent the death 11 months before. 

In March 2020 legal discussions took place on whether to remove Alfie from Scott's care after concerns. 

Worcester News: DEFENDANT: Carla ScottDEFENDANT: Carla Scott (Image: SWNS/West Mercia Police)

However, because Scott was seen to be working with social workers at that stage, it was deemed the situation did not cross the threshold for him to be removed. 

Examination of Alfie's body showed he had 50 injuries all over including to his head, with only a handful likely to be due to normal childhood bumps and scrapes.

At around 2.30pm on the day Alfie died Scott dialled 999 to report Alfie had fallen asleep in the bath and was not breathing.

Scott told PC Pickering, one of the first on the scene, about an hour before she had found the child and "got him out straight away". 

After the officer said Scott wasn't making much sense he asked her when she had first come across Alfie. 

Worcester News: DEFENDANT: Dirk HowellDEFENDANT: Dirk Howell (Image: West Mercia Police)

Scott replied: "About 10 minutes ago, yeah, sorry."

The prosecution highlighted Alfie's body temperature had been at 23C, when it should be 37C, suggesting it made "perfect sense" the child had been dunked and held down in cold water as punishment before his death. 

The prosecution also said there had been signs of a cover-up after the murder as Howell fled from the scene before paramedics arrived. 

Police arrested the prolific criminal, who has spent 22 years of his life in prison, at Droitwich Railway Station as he tried to board a train.

In the witness box Scott denied being responsible for the death of her son and said she had not chosen Howell over Alfie.

In his evidence an angry Howell used bad language and entered into rants in which he argued with the judge, but continued to deny the murder. 

The jury ultimately believed neither of the defendants, who are now facing life in prison.