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Simonne Kerr: Ex soldier admits manslaughter of Wembley campaigner and Britain's Got Talent finalist

PUBLISHED: 15:08 15 February 2019 | UPDATED: 18:45 15 February 2019

Simonne Kerr with her son Kavele    Picture: NHS Blood & Transplant

Simonne Kerr with her son Kavele Picture: NHS Blood & Transplant

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An ex-soldier today admitted the manslaughter of Wembley mum Simonne Kerr, a nurse and charity campaigner who had performed on Britain's Got Talent.

Simonne Kerr (centre) and, left to right, children's author Jenica Leah, Brent Central MP Dawn Butler, Prof Dame Elizabeth Anionwu and Sickle Cell Society chief exec John James OBE. Picture: Sickle Cell SocietySimonne Kerr (centre) and, left to right, children's author Jenica Leah, Brent Central MP Dawn Butler, Prof Dame Elizabeth Anionwu and Sickle Cell Society chief exec John James OBE. Picture: Sickle Cell Society

But he will still face a murder trial at the same court lasting up to two weeks from June 3.

Ms Kerr, a volunteer at Harlesden’s Sickle Cell Society (SCS), was killed on August 15.

The 31-year-old was found by police in Grayshott Road, Battersea, where she died at 1.41pm from multiple stab injuries.

Desmond Sylva, 40, who lived with Ms Kerr, pleaded guilty to her manslaughter during a hearing at the Old Bailey.

File photo dated 15/8/2018 of orensics and a police officer at the home of Simonne Kerr in Battersea, south-west London after her death. Former soldier Desmond Sylva has admitted at the Old Bailey of killing the  nurse who performed on Britain's Got Talent in an NHS choir. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. See PA story COURTS Battersea. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire File photo dated 15/8/2018 of orensics and a police officer at the home of Simonne Kerr in Battersea, south-west London after her death. Former soldier Desmond Sylva has admitted at the Old Bailey of killing the nurse who performed on Britain's Got Talent in an NHS choir. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday August 15, 2018. See PA story COURTS Battersea. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The defendant, who wore a grey tracksuit, denied her murder last year on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Members of Ms Kerr’s family sat in court as Sylva entered his pleas.

A haematology and oncology nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, Ms Kerr had the sickle cell trait.

Her young son, Kavele, died due to complications with the disorder in October 2015.

She was dedicated to raising awareness of sickle cell disorders and the importance of blood donation, and found an outlet through the B Positive Choir and the SCS in Station Road.

She appeared on the ITV talent show with the B Positive Choir, singing Rise Up, to encourage blood donations.

Speaking to the Brent & Kilburn Times in May ahead of the BGT semi-finals, she said: “For a long time I couldn’t talk about it [Kavele’s death] – still sometimes it’s hard.

“The choir is massive therapy. It really helps. A lot of the people have sickle cell themselves. It’s nice to see them when they are well. Sometimes they come to practice after they’ve had a crisis. It’s uplifting, to see these adults living their lives and living to a great age.”

This paper also spoke to her two days before her death, when she confirmed she wouldn’t be performing with B Positive at the Luv Gospel Festival taking place in Wembley the following Friday as she was on shift to work.

At Leopold Primary School in Hawkshead Road, where Kavele was a pupil, a memorial garden was built in 2017.

Simonne and the school raised funds to support the SCS in memory of the little boy.

Judge Richard Marks QC remanded Sylva into custody.

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