Alfie Lamb died three days after he was crushed in the rear footwell of a car, the Old Bailey heard
A mother told her three-year-old son to be quiet as he was crushed to death by her boyfriend deliberately moving his car seat back, a court heard today.
Alfie Lamb’s head was wedged between the rear seat and the front passenger seat when Stephen Waterson twice moved his chair back ‘as far as it could go,’ a court heard.
The three-year-old sobbed and cried out ‘mummy’ when he was crushed by up to 81kg of pressure and started making ‘choking’ noises in the car.
Witness Emilie Williams, 19, who was sitting in the back seat of the Audi, claims Alfie’s mother told him to ‘shush’ after Waterson moved his seat into him for the second time.
Waterson, 25, and Alfie’s mother Adrian Hoare, 23, are accused of manslaughter after Alfie was crushed, starving his brain of oxygen and causing him to fall unconscious.
Alfie died three days after suffering a cardiac arrest at the couple’s home in Croydon, south London.
Waterson is alleged to have become irate as the boy was complaining he did not have enough room during the journey as he sat in the back footwell, between his mother’s legs.
Stephen Waterson, pictured, ‘deliberately pushed his seat back twice, crushing Alfie’, the court was told
Alfie’s mother, Adrian Hoare, 23, who was in the seat behind her son, is charged with manslaughter alongside Waterson
Three-and-a-half-year-old Alfie Lamb was in the rear footwell of an Audi car when he was squashed ‘at the touch of a button’ in February last year, the Old Bailey was told
The court has heard how Marcus Lamb was driving, Stephen Waterson was sitting in the front passenger seat, and Adrian Hoare was in the back with Emilie Williams. Ms Williams’ daughter was sitting in the footwell in front of her, while Alfie was sitting in the footwell in front of Hoare, and behind Waterson
Hoare, 23, also allegedly slapped the three-year-old as he screamed during the car journey.
Waterson and Hoare lied repeatedly afterwards then assaulted the two other passengers in an attempt to cover up their crime, jurors were told.
The court heard on the journey on 1 February last year, Marcus Lamb was driving, Waterson was sitting in the front passenger seat, and Hoare was in the back with Emilie Williams.
Ms Williams said her own daughter and Alfie were sat on the floor behind the front two seats.
Stephen Waterson, 25, and mother Adrian Hoare, 23, are on trial charged with the manslaughter of little Alfie
She told the Old Bailey on the second day of the trial that Waterson moved the Audi A4’s front passenger car seat into Alfie as they drove back to Croydon.
Ms Adkin QC said: ‘You’ve said that Stephen moved the car seat back. He was then told to move it forward. You said that Alfie started crying – how has Adrian reacted?’
Ms Williams said: ‘Just like, we’ll be home soon, shut up. Sometimes it was just like in an annoyed voice.’
Asked how Alfie was positioned, she replied: ‘His feet were under the chair and he was putting his head back. He didn’t have room for anything.’
She said Alfie went quiet after he stopped crying and she and Hoare were unable to wake him up.
She added: ‘As we was pulling up she (Hoare) thought to wake Alfie up but couldn’t get anything and she told him to stop being silly because she thought he was mucking around.
‘I think he looked pale, I can’t really remember – he wasn’t moving.’
Asked why she hadn’t come forward sooner, Ms Williams’ said Waterson had threatened her.
‘He said that he’d put me in the boot of his car and get rid of me – he said that he’d kill me.’
Ms Williams then told the court via a video-link how Hoare slapped her in the face at an Asda store.
Adrian Hoare with her son Alfie, who died after Hoare’s boyfriend allegedly pushed his seat back and crushed the toddler
Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson told the Old Bailey yesterday: ‘This movement was a deliberate action by Waterson, who was angered by the noise and fuss that a three-and-a-half-year-old was making during the journey.
‘Until he got into that vehicle with his mother and those others, CCTV showed that Alfie had been fit and well.
Waterson, from Croydon, south London, denies manslaughter
‘It follows that during that car journey something happened to Alfie to compress his chest and abdomen so that he went from and active toddler, to a very seriously ill and brain damaged one.’
A forensics investigator found Alfie had been subjected to between 78-81 kg of force in 9.5cm gap.
Paramedics were called to the couple’s address on the evening of February 3 to find Marcus Lamb performing CPR on Alfie.
Hoare told paramedics that ‘they had got into a taxi and put him in a child seat where he fell asleep.’
Haore also told paramedics ‘I can’t tell them what happened, I’m going to have to tell them what happened’ over and over as they treated him, the court heard.
‘We tried to wake him and found him unresponsive. The taxi driver kicked us out and f*****d off,’ she said.
Mr Atkinson said: ‘It was to be only the beginning of the lies that she and others were to tell.’
On 3 February when Alfie was still on life support, Hoare was texting Waterson saying: ‘I love you… no one can be blamed.’
Waterson replied saying ‘I know, make sure you delete these messages.’
Later that day, activity on Waterson’s phone showed that he was trying to sell the Audi and he later accepted £800 in cash for it.
On 4 February Hoare told Waterson that there was nothing more the hospital could do for Alfie and it was time to turn off the his life support machine.
Little Alfie with his mother, Adrian Hoare. Both defendants have admitted to perverting the course by submitting false statements to police
Waterson denies manslaughter and intimidating Marcus Lamb, also known as Marcus Richardson, on 15 February
Hoare allegedly ‘lied’ to paramedics and police and tried to cover up her son’s death, the court was told
The Old Bailey was told Hoare and Waterson ‘gave false accounts to the police who they recognised were investigating Alfie’s death’
Lamb told police that Hoare had been shouting at Alfie while they were out shopping.
Mr Atkinson said: ‘During the journey, he heard Alfie screaming and crying and both Hoare and Waterson were telling him to shut up.
‘Lamb also heard Hoare slap Alfie. He then heard the sound of the front seat moving back and Alfie saying, ‘Mummy.’
‘He told police only became aware of the problem with Alfie after the car stopped at Adams Way. Waterson had pulled Alfie out of the car and Hoare said to him: ‘What have you done?”
Hoare denies manslaughter, child cruelty for placing Alfie in the footwell and common assault on Williams
Emilie Williams told police: ‘Alfie carried on crying for a few minutes and then he became quiet so Adrian thought he had fallen asleep.
‘But before I noticed that he was like, it sounded like he was about to bring up sick but he didn’t and he swallowed it again.
‘So I told Adrian to check him, check him but she didn’t. She said he was fine and he was just coughing.’
Emergency services were called at 7.23pm where they found Lamb giving CPR to Alfie, before he abruptly left.
Paramedics were not satisfied with Hoare’s account and the police were called.
When they arrived Hoare was on the phone to Waterson allegedly getting their stories straight.
Hoare claimed they had been in a taxi but was unable to describe it or the service they said they had used.
Later when the couple had just arrived at the hospital, Hoare sent a text to him at 8.07pm saying: ‘They know we are lying.’
In a text Waterson also told Hoare: ‘I want this be with me and u blame me for it all I understand as I ain’t perfect but I do anything for you am here if u want me police are gonna come talk to me. I gonna take blame for all u.’
Waterson gave the false name of Alex Richardson and identified himself as Hoare’s cousin at the hospital.
‘He gave the impression to the police of being helpful and concerned,’ Atkinson said.
Jurors heard how little Alfie screamed for his mother as he was crushed by the chair
The pathologist found that Alfie had died as a result of crush asphyxia.
Mr Atkinson said: ‘It was caused by the front passenger seat of the Audi vehicle, Waterson’s seat, behind moved back further into the rear passenger at a time when it was known Alfie was in the footwell.’
Alfie was ‘squashed and suffocated by the car seat’ and died three days after suffering a cardiac arrest
He moved the seat into Alfie and the passengers pleaded with him to move forward because it was obvious he had hurt the boy, the court heard.
‘However, when Alfie made noise again, Waterson deliberately moved his seat back again and kept it in reverse position, squashing Alfie,’ Mr Atkinson said.
‘He again showed signs of breathing problems until he ominously went quiet.
‘Alfie’s mother had a duty to protect him from avoidable harm and yet she had failed to do this by inappropriately placing a young child in the rear footwell of a moving car.
‘She failed in any meaningful or sufficient way to address the consequences of Waterson’s actions.
‘Hoare later assaulted Williams in an argument that was no doubt related to the incident.
‘Conscious that Lamb was a witness to what he had done, and had spoken to the police, Waterson and others assaulted him in an act of witness intimidation on 15 February.’
The court heard Wateron fled after the boy fell unconscious and sold the car ‘very quickly’ afterwards.
The court was told: ‘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’
Paramedic Jason Sammut told the Old Bailey when he and a colleague arrived Marcus Lamb was giving Alfie CPR on the ground by a car park.
Mr Sammut noticed red dots on Alfie’s face when he was transferred to the ambulance.
He said: ‘When he was moved into the back of the ambulance, I noticed he had a rash around his eyes, which was unusual. There were red dots around the eyes, a bit like he had a mask on.’
Both defendants have admitted to perverting the course by submitting false statements to police.
Hoare and Waterson, from Croydon, south London, deny manslaughter.
Hoare denies further charges child cruelty for placing Alfie in the footwell and common assault on Williams on February 14.
Waterson denies intimidating Marcus Lamb, also known as Marcus Richardson, on 15 February.
The trial continues.
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