Man charged with murdering nurse who performed on BGT with NHS choir

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A man has been charged with murdering a nurse who performed on Britain’s Got Talent in an NHS choir.

Desmond Sylva, 40, was charged on Thursday over the death of 31-year-old Simonne Kerr who was found fatally stabbed in her home in Battersea, south-west London, Scotland Yard said.

The nurse at Guy’s Hospital, near London Bridge, appeared on the talent show with the B Positive Choir to encourage blood donations after her young son died from complications of sickle cell disease.

Simonne Kerr with her son Kavele
Simonne Kerr with her son Kavele (NHS/PA)

“When I’m with the choir, I look either side of me and see new friends who have been affected by the same disease which took Kavele,” she said, according to the Daily Mirror.

“They know the physical and emotional pain of it. We support each other and there’s a real family vibe. When we sing, we don’t just rattle through a song. We sing with real feeling that comes from the bottom of our souls.”

The judge’s praised the group’s successful performance in this year’s series, with Simon Cowell calling it “amazing”, David Walliams “inspiring”, and Alesha Dixon said it was “one of the most soulful, honest, authentic performances that we’ve had on the show”.

Ms Kerr, who carried the disease but was not affected, lost Kavele in 2015 at the age of six and joined the choir to raise awareness of the importance of blood donors, the NHS said at the time.

Sylva, who lived in the same address in Grayshott Road, will appear at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, according to the Metropolitan Police.

Officers said Ms Kerr, whose death sparked the 90th homicide investigation in the capital this year, was living in the flat but was originally from Wembley, north-west London.

Police were called shortly before 12.40pm on Wednesday to the Victorian terrace but she was pronounced dead at the scene despite the efforts of paramedics.

Vickie Foot, a 43-year-old who lives nearby, described the killing as “absolutely shocking” and said she saw the arrest.

Police reassured residents, telling them: “It’s not gang-related.”

Scotland Yard said detectives are not looking for any other suspects.

The woman’s next-of-kin have been informed and a post-mortem examination was due to take place on Thursday.

A Britain’s Got Talent spokesman offered condolences to her family, and added: “We are deeply saddened and shocked to hear that Simonne Kerr has died.”

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