A woman has testified against her ex-boyfriend in a manslaughter trial at the Old Bailey, implicating him in an elderly woman's death.

Lauren Delossantos gave evidence today (February 10) from behind screens in the trial of Kai Cooper, who denies responsibility for the death of 88-year-old Josephine Smith.

He stands accused of encouraging a younger boy to post a firework through Mrs Smith's front door in Queens Park Road, Harold Wood, on October 28, 2021.

Mrs Smith was found dead later that night from smoke inhalation.


Miss Delossantos testified that Mr Cooper, 19, of Cleve Road in Leatherhead, told the younger boy: "I bet you won't put a firework through one of them letterboxes."

When the boy did not answer, she said, Mr Cooper said: "I dare you to put a firework in a letterbox."

She said the boy - who cannot be named due to his age, and is not currently on trial - replied: "Bet."

Miss Delossantos told the jury this meant he had accepted Mr Cooper's dare, and she watched him run across the road.

The jury heard she and Mr Cooper had been in a relationship for around two months at the time and she had just told him she was pregnant with his child.

But after all three were arrested over Mrs Smith's death, they broke up and stopped communicating. She later suffered a miscarriage.


The court heard that on December 15, 2021, the day she was told she faced no further action, she told the police about Mr Cooper's alleged comments and agreed to provide a witness statement.

Christine Agnew KC, defending Mr Cooper, said Miss Delossantos had not made that statement until January 2022, by which time police had told her that Mr Cooper had got another woman pregnant.

She put it to Miss Delossantos that she had been angry at Mr Cooper and lied "out of spite". 

Miss Delossantos denied that, insisting she had never wished Mr Cooper any harm. 

She testified that after she and Mr Cooper had split up, she got back together with an ex. Last month, she gave birth to their baby.

Ms Agnew also questioned why the words Miss Delossantos attributed to Mr Cooper in the alleged conversation were not always exactly the same.

"The reason it's different, Miss Delossantos, is because it didn't happen," she said.

"It did happen," Miss Delossantos replied, although she did admit to having a bad memory.

Ms Agnew put it to the witness that in fact the other boy had decided to post the firework and Mr Cooper had warned him not to.

Miss Delossantos said she did not remember any such exchange.

The trial continues.