This is the face of Kai Cooper, the teenage thug found guilty by a jury today (February 17) of killing 88-year-old Josephine Smith.

Jurors in Cooper's manslaughter trial were prevented from watching footage of him shouting at a younger boy to stamp on a “defenceless” woman’s head, two nights before the arson attack on Josephine's Harold Wood home in October 2021. 

Judge Mark Dennis KC played two “shocking” videos in open court after sending the jury home early on Valentine’s Day, so he could consider whether to admit them as evidence. 

But he concluded the “gratuitous and wanton” violence captured in the clips was so distressing that they would unfairly prejudice the trial. 

Cooper filmed himself shouting encouragement as the younger boy attacked a woman in the street. 

The boy cannot be identified due to his age. He was not on trial with Cooper. 


Prosecutor Heidi Stonecliffe KC said the clips proved the dynamic between the youths on which her case rested. 

Cooper, 19, of Cleve Road in Leatherhead, was on trial for encouraging the same boy to post a firework through Josephine's door less than 48 hours later, in October 2021. 

She died of smoke inhalation. 

Only now the jury has found Cooper guilty can we report on the shocking videos they never got to see. 

"Her face, bro! Stamp it!” 

The videos, shot by Cooper, were found on the boys’ phones after their arrests. 

In the first, the younger boy attacked a woman in Ilford High Road, shortly before 4am, with a long stick resembling a pool cue. 

Cooper shouted: “Smoke her! Smoke her, bro! And again!” 

The second showed the woman sprawled on the pavement, the boy looming over her, as Cooper shouted: “Just one tap on the face! One tap on her face! Go on! Do it! Do it! Do it! One tap on her face, bro! 

READ MORE: Arson victim Josephine Smith's son: I cannot keep living in Harold Wood

“One boot on her face! One boot on her face, bro! Boot in her face! Boot in her face! Her face, bro! Her face, bro! Stamp it!” 

The younger boy attempted to stamp on her face but missed, hitting her shoulder. 

Cooper shouted: “Yes bro!” 

“Exact same dynamic” 

Ms Stonecliffe said the clips showed “in graphic clarity” the dynamic between the youths. 

She said they also countered the defence’s attempts to undermine Cooper’s ex-girlfriend, who testified that she witnessed him dare the boy to post the firework. 

Ms Stonecliffe said defence barrister Christine Agnew KC had suggested “pretty vociferously” that Lauren Delossantos had lied "out of spite... that it’s fuelled by some sort of woman scorned.” 

“This shows there’s an occasion within 48 hours of this event that shows the exact same dynamic,” she said. “[The boy] does something on Kai Cooper’s instruction.” 


Ms Agnew urged Judge Dennis not to let jurors see the "shocking" videos. 

“Everyone’s reaction upon seeing it is to essentially take a sharp intake of breath – and that would be the jury’s,” she argued.  

“It would have such an adverse effect, it should not be admitted.” 

She added that the videos were “too short” to truly show the dynamic between the boys. 

Romford Recorder: Josephine Smith, 88, died of smoke inhalation after Kai Cooper encouraged a younger boy to post a firework through her doorJosephine Smith, 88, died of smoke inhalation after Kai Cooper encouraged a younger boy to post a firework through her door (Image: The Smith family)

“Gratuitous and wanton” 

Judge Dennis said the video showed the younger boy “attacking and tormenting a defenceless female”, then “stamping upon the defenceless, prone victim, with the defendant egging on or encouraging and, in many respects, escalating the incident.” 

“It is antisocial, aggressive conduct in a public street,” he said. “It appears to be gratuitous and wanton.” 

He said it showed “that dynamic of an 18-year-old egging on a 15-year-old to commit an unlawful act of an aggressive nature.” 

But, he said: “Anyone seeing that, inevitably, would not only be very shocked by it and distressed – it would be very difficult for them to remove that from their minds. 

“After much reflection... it is my view that at this stage the prejudicial effect does outweigh that probative value.” 


Video: CCTV shows moment firework exploded inside OAP's home

Judge Dennis said he could change his ruling if Cooper said anything in court which the videos might rebut. 

An hour later, after a meeting with Cooper in the Old Bailey’s cells, Ms Agnew told the court Cooper had decided not to testify. 

The jury was also not told that Cooper was convicted of assault based on the videos.  

His other convictions included two counts of robbery in 2019.