“Lil Man” on trial for killing 2-year-old niece

– Court told child was sodomised

As the trial against Kevin Rankin who allegedly murdered his two-year-old niece in 2013 continues, the prosecution is expected to present its final two witnesses and close its case today.
Rankin, also known as “Lil Man”, is on trial before Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry and a 12-member jury for allegedly killing two-year-old Kimani Phillips on October 21, 2013 at Lot 46 Haslington South, East Coast Demerara. The defendant was 15 years old at the time.
At the commencement of the trial on Friday last, State Prosecutor Narissa Leander related that on the day in question, the toddler was left in the care of Diane Graham, the defendant’s mother. During the course of the day, the woman reportedly went to conduct some errands, leaving the toddler and Rankin at a neighbouring relative’s house. Leander explained that the prosecution’s case would be built by the circumstantial evidence which would prove that Rankin inflicted the fatal injuries on the child.
Graham, the first witness, had testified that on the day in question, she left her son at home for about 20 minutes while she conducted a transaction at MoneyGram.
She related that while she was out, she received a phone call which led to her returning home. Upon her arrival at the home, she stated that her son exited a car and told her of her granddaughter’s demise. The woman also alleged that the child was suffering from constipation.
On Monday, Kiana Primo, the defendant’s cousin, admitted that she had supplied the Police with an untrue statement when relating the incident. She stated that early that day, she was on the upper flat of the house when she noticed a strange odour, which was later discovered to be as a result of the toddler defecating. She stated that she ordered Rankin to clean the child up while she continued her chores. Sometime later, she recalled that Rankin had rushed to her clad only in a pair of short pants, telling her that the toddler was not breathing. She said upon investigating, she noticed that the child was lying motionless with her eyes and mouth open, and Rankin was nervous. She explained that they then rushed her to the health centre where she was pronounced dead.
While under cross-examination by Defence Counsel Sandil Kissoon, Primo confessed that she had told the Police a different version of what occurred. The woman, who was 18 years old at the time, admitted that she told the Police that when she discovered the child on the bed, the toddler was moving her head from side to side. She claimed that she lied because she did not want her cousin to be arrested, but now she wished to clear her conscience and tell the truth.
Venice Phillips, the mother of the deceased child and sister of the defendant, also testified in the matter. She explained that she left her two daughters in her mother’s care on the day in question as per normal. She also refuted her mother’s claim that the child was suffering from constipation, saying the child was healthy when she left.
State Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh testified that the autopsy performed on the toddler revealed that she had been sodomised. Dr Singh said the cause of death was haemorrhage and shock due to multiple abdominal injuries. He explained that Philips had been “subjected to anal penetration”, which left behind fresh samples of blood. He further related that the child suffered abdominal trauma as a result of anal penetration as well as massive internal injuries to her spleen, liver and anus. He contended that the injuries were caused simultaneously, adding that the toddler suffered injuries on her head and neck and blunt force trauma consistent with being hit, compression or a fall. Dr Singh also revealed that he could not determine by what the child was penetrated.