Alfie Lamb died three days after he was crushed in the rear footwell of a car, the Old Bailey heard
A three-year-old boy cried out ‘mummy’ as he was crushed by a car seat exerting 180lbs of pressure, moved back by his mother’s irate boyfriend, a court heard.
Stephen Waterson, 25, allegedly pushed his seat back into Alfie Lamb because the toddler was too noisy, after he was put in the rear footwell of the Audi by his mother, Adrian Hoare, 23.
Waterson twice moved his seat back and ‘kept it in a reversed position’ until Alfie ‘went ominously quiet,’ before then making ‘choking noises’, the court heard.
Alfie was ‘squashed and suffocated by the car seat’ and died three days after suffering a cardiac arrest at the couple’s home in Croydon, south London, the court heard.
Alfie sobbed for his mother as Waterson crushed him with the car seat, the court was told.
Hoare 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.
Adrian Hoare with her son Alfie, who died after Hoare’s boyfriend allegedly pushed his seat back and crushed the toddler
Stephen Waterson, 25, and mother Adrian Hoare, 23, are on trial charged with the manslaughter of little Alfie
The court heard on the journey through Croydon on 1 February last year, Marcus Lamb was driving, Waterson was sitting in the front passenger seat, and Hoare was in the back with another mother, Emilie Williams.
Little Alfie with his mother, Adrian Hoare
Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson told the Old Bailey today: ‘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.
‘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.’
‘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.’
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.’
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.
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 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.
Alfie’s mother, Adrian Hoare, 23, who was in the seat behind her son, is charged with manslaughter alongside Waterson
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’
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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