In Brief

Toddler dies after being ‘deliberately crushed by car seat’

Alfie Lamb, 3, was allegedly killed by his mother’s boyfriend after making too much ‘noise and fuss’, court hears

A three-year-old boy was crushed and suffocated to death by an electric car seat after his mother’s boyfriend claimed he was making too much “noise and fuss”, a court has heard.

The Old Bailey was told that Alfie Lamb was in the rear footwell of a car when Stephen Waterson, 25, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, allegedly pushed his seat back twice in anger into the toddler, BBC News reports.

The court heard that Alfie cried for help from his “mummy” while choking sounds were heard during the incident. His 23-year-old mother, Adrian Hoare, was sat in the seat behind her son and is charged with manslaughter, alongside Waterson.

Also in the car was friend Marcus Lamb, 22, and his then-girlfriend Emilie Williams, 19. They are currently giving evidence against Waterson and Hoare, Sky News reports, and have told the court that they heard Hoare slap the boy before he was crushed.

Lamb claimed he “only realised something was amiss when the group arrived at their destination”, when Hoare said “what have you done?” after Waterson pulled Alfie from the car.

Police and medics were called to Hoare and Waterson's home in Adams Way, Croydon on 1 February.

“Alfie was found in cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital but his life support machine was switched off days later,” says the BBC.

The mother allegedly told paramedics who arrived: “We got into a taxi and put him into a child seat and he fell asleep. We tried to wake him and found him unresponsive.”

This was “only the beginning of the lies that she, and others, were to tell”, said prosecutor Duncan Atkinson.

The court heard that Alfie was suffocated and suffered brain damage, eventually dying as a result of “crush asphyxia”.

Waterson’s seat was moved back into the rear passenger side footwell “at a time when, as was known, Alfie was in that footwell”, said Atkinson.

“In effect, he was squashed by the car seat and suffocated,” he said. “This movement of the seat was a deliberate action by Waterson who knew that Alfie was there and was angered by the noise and fuss that the three-and-a-half-year-old was making during the fateful car journey.”

Following the incident, Lamb and Williams claim they were attacked by Hoare and Waterson in an act of witness intimidation.

Hoare denies manslaughter, child cruelty and common assault on Williams, while Waterson has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and intimidation of Lamb.

However, the pair have pleaded guilty to conspiring to pervert the course of justice by making false statements to police.

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