A foster mother who beat an 18-month-old baby to death was scarred by the violent death of her own father, her half-brother has said. Kandyce Downer was jailed for life in early May for the murder of Keegan Downer who collapsed in her Birmingham home in 2015.
Keegan was found with over 200 injuries to her body and at least 153 scars from the violence Downer had inflicted upon her. At the time of the case, Detective Inspector Harry Harrison described it as "an extremely disturbing and harrowing case to investigate."
Speaking to the Sunday Mercury in Birmingham, Kandyce's half-brother, Richard said that he does not condone her actions but believes "something switched in her head" and he finds it difficult to reconcile the woman he knew with the murderer portrayed in the media.
"She was very good with her siblings' kids. She was always a good wife and mother. She was an inspirational sister. I remember her as an immaculate dresser. This is not the girl I knew," he said.
He also said that he think the violent death of their father, Othman Ayoub, affected Kandyce. Ayoud, from Sierra Leone, was killed in a domestic incident by Kandyce's mother, Jean Dennis, who was jailed for manslaughter in 1984.
"I didn't know my dad," Richard told the paper, "but it was terrible for the family, a massive shock. It was something I found out about in later life. I think it had a latent effect, more so on my siblings than me because I didn't allow it to eat me away. I didn't allow it to have a permanently disruptive effect on my life."
He also said that he wants people to know that Kandyce was not simply "born evil".
"I have been approached by national newspapers and declined to speak but I think it's important people in Birmingham know Kandyce was not born evil and was capable of love," he said. "I managed to rise above what happened in our life. She let it suck her down."