BY JAMES TWOMEY
A man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence after crushing his girlfriend’s young son to death.
Stephen Waterson, 26, of Adams Way, Croydon admitted to crushing his partner’s three-year-old son Alfie Lamb with a car seat on February 1 last year.
The toddler had been travelling in an Audi convertible vehicle and placed in the footwell of the car between his mother’s legs and behind Waterson’s seat on the passenger side.
Waterson deliberately moved the seat back as far as it would go on two occasions because he was annoyed at the noise Alfie was making.
The deliberate movement of the electric seat would have caused up to 81kg of pressure on Alfie.
The pathologist that examined Alfie found he had died as a result of crush asphyxia.
CCTV footage obtained by police showed the toddler had been fit and healthy when he got into the vehicle in Sutton High Street.
When paramedics and police officers arrived at Adams Way to treat Alfie, his mother Adrian Hoare and Williams told them they had been in a taxi when he had become unresponsive.
Waterson is currently serving a prison term after being found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and intimidating a witness at an earlier trial.
At that trial Alfie’s mother was jailed for two years and nine months for child cruelty.
Waterson sold the Audi on February 8, 2018 for £800 but the police managed to recover it for forensic analysis.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding said: “As the mother and step-father of Alfie, Adrian Hoare and Stephen Waterson should have put the safety and well-being of Alfie as their uppermost priority when he was placed in the car on February 1 last year.
“Instead, they put the toddler, who was just three-and-a-half years old, in the footwell of the vehicle with little or no room to move.
“Waterson, who was annoyed that Alfie was making some noise, spitefully and selfishly moved his seat back as far as it could go to quieten the toddler.
“He did this on two occasions, in the full knowledge that his actions would cause harm to Alfie.
“Hoare, who was sitting behind Alfie, failed in any meaningful way to address the consequences of Waterson’s actions.
“Although the movement of the seat carried with it an obvious risk of death, given the lack of space even for a child of Alfie’s size, she utterly failed in her duty to protect her child.
“Finding that Alfie was unresponsive once they returned to Adams Way, Hoare and Waterson continuously lied to police in a bid to escape responsibility for their actions.
“Even with her son fighting for his life in intensive care, Hoare showed little or no concern for Alfie and focused her energies on maintaining contact with her partner so they could corroborate their false stories.
“Alfie was killed as the result of a selfish and spiteful act by his stepfather, which was aided and abetted by the indifference of his mother.
“Nothing can be done to make up for the tragic death of a boy who was at the very beginning of his life.”