The mother of tragic Alfie Lamb has been freed from jail – despite serving less than half her sentence.
And in an exclusive interview since leaving prison, Adrian Hoare is washing her hands of any involvement in little Alfie’s death.
She pins all the blame on her twisted ex-boyfriend Stephen Waterson – the adopted son of former Tory minister Nigel – who crushed the three-year-old with his car seat last February.
Hoare, 24, had three-year-old Alfie in the footwell of Waterson’s car on the way home from a shopping trip – and the vile yob reversed his seat into the helpless toddler.
She now says she wants to ‘restart’ her life after being let out early from her two-year, nine-month sentence for child cruelty and assault, which she was only handed five months ago.
In an exclusive interview since leaving prison, Adrian Hoare is washing her hands of any involvement in little Alfie’s death
Alfie Lamb collapsed and stopped breathing after he was crushed beneath Stephen Waterson’s car seat. Waterson was jailed for seven and a half years
Waterson, pictured (left) after his arrest, is the adopted son of former Tory minister Nigel Waterson, pictured (right) outside court
Alfie’s mother, Adrian Hoare, 24, from Gravesend in Kent, was found guilty of child cruelty and jailed for two years and nine months
And the shamed parent – who had put Alfie in the footwell numerous times before – insists she was a good mother.
Speaking about the death of her son for the first time Hoare from Chatham, Kent, she insists Waterson, 26, holds the blame.
She said: ‘To me, he’s the one that moved the chair.
‘In my head, I blame him more for what’s happened.
‘I was trying to get him to move the chair. I couldn’t have moved the chair myself.
‘He should’ve been in a seat, but where Stephen had kicked off and we knew we weren’t going to get him to calm down, we got in the car just to stop him having a go at us.
‘I blame it entirely on Stephen. I wouldn’t say it’s me that caused it to happen.’
Alfie was in the footwell behind the passenger seat of this Audi when he was fatally injured
Alfie’s aunt Ashleigh Jeffrey (left) said outside court in November: ‘No sentence will be enough.’ Alfie’s grandmother Janis Templeton-Hoare (right) said she hopes ‘Waterson rots in prison’
The three had been out on a shopping trip with friends in Sutton, South London, when Waterson began crushing Alfie, saying he would ‘not be told what to do by a three-year-old’.
It caused crush asphyxia and Alfie died of a heart attack days after the sickening incident on February 1, 2018.
Hoare was cleared of manslaughter in February this year, but a jury found her guilty of child cruelty and assault, and she had earlier admitted perverting the course of justice by lying to cops.
She was jailed for two years and nine months in May, but was released early from HMP Bronzefield in Ashford, Surrey, on October 11.
Former minister Nigel Waterson and Waterson’s adoptive mother Barbara Judge were at court in November but declined to comment
Although she spent a year in custody on remand, many will still be shocked to learn she is out of jail so soon after only being sentenced in May.
They had been travelling home to Croydon, South London, in Waterson’s Audi A4 convertible with friends Marcus Lamb – who was driving – and Emilie Williams after a shopping trip.
Waterson began shouting and got frustrated with Alfie during the journey, and reversed into him twice with his electric seat.
Before the incident, CCTV footage showed Alfie running after Hoare and Waterson to catch up with them – but Hoare insists the youngster would frequently run.
Hoare says she put Alfie on her lap for the drive home, but claims he became scared when Waterson started to lose his temper after a phone call and went into the footwell crying.
He started reversing his seat on to Alfie – who was at his mum’s feet when it happened – and despite Alfie’s calls for his ‘Mummy’, he was left in agony in the footwell.
Hoare says she tried to calm Alfie down and get Waterson to stop, but he refused to listen.
CCTV showed little Alfie having to run to keep up with Waterson and Hoare during the shopping trip before he was killed
Waterson, Hoare and Alfie were being driven home in this car when the incident happened
She said: ‘Stephen had decided he wanted to go into town. I had Alfie with me and I said I wasn’t going to go with them.
‘Stephen started kicking off and wouldn’t let us get a bus – we had to go with him.
‘I just put him on my lap in the car. Stephen got moody and he started shouting and it scared Alfie, and where Alfie was on my lap, he dropped down in between my legs.
‘That’s when Stephen moved the chair back. When we told him to stop, he moved it back again and he was shouting at Alfie because he started crying again.
‘I couldn’t move the chair to get him out.’
Alfie died at St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth, South London, three days after being taken ill, with the decision being made to pull the plug on his life support machine.
A jury at London’s Old Bailey failed to reach a verdict on Waterson’s charge of manslaughter by gross negligence, and a retrial was scheduled – only for him to admit it in September.
In November this year, Waterson was sentenced to five years and six months for the manslaughter and further two years and 18 months for intimidation and conspiracy to pevert the course of justice.
Hoare insists she looked after Alfie properly, despite admitting putting him in the footwell and on her lap while in the car countless times – which Hoare says ‘only happened when we were going to the shops’.
Her own mother, Janis Templeton-Hoare, said her daughter paid more attention to her phone than Alfie, and that he would beg for food and was often just fed burger and chips.
But speaking at a cafe near her bail hostel, Hoare said: ‘It’s not a nice thing to sit and read about someone, but it’s not like he was mistreated or something horrible was happening to him all the time, because it wasn’t.
‘I know it shouldn’t have ever been done or happened, but at the time, and even on that day, none of us thought anything like this would’ve happened.
‘I’m not saying I thought it was OK, but it was easier to get in the car with Alfie on my lap or on my seat.
‘I would get up with him in the mornings. If he was playing in the front room I would sit on the sofa with him and have my phone in my hand.
‘If he would ask for something then I would do it for him. I feel like I did enough for him as a mum.’
Alfie was born at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, on March 14, 2014.
Hoare spent seven months with him in a mother and baby unit to ensure she could cope with him.
As tears filled her eyes, she described Alfie as a ‘bubbly little boy’ who was full of energy and a ‘funny little character’.
She said: ‘I loved him. It’s hard.
‘I fell pregnant and I wasn’t getting rid of him. I wanted him.
‘We had a really good bond. He was everything to me.
‘I was with him every day. I saw all the little changes in him as he was getting older. For that to just be taken away is horrible.
‘I think about it every day.’
Social services became involved with Alfie and Hoare over his biological father, Richard Lamb, who was violent and set fire to Hoare’s flat when she broke up with him.
A serious case review into social workers is being conducted to focus on why Alfie was allowed to live with Waterson, who has three previous battery convictions.
Hoare says Waterson – who has children himself – was a controlling boyfriend who would not let her leave the house without him by her side.
She says she tried to leave him a number of times but he would not let her leave their home, and he threatened to have people knock down the door of her mum’s house if she stayed there.
The pair met around May 2016 through a mutual friend, and she quickly fell for the nightclub worker – who told police in interview that he had ‘powerful parents’.
Hoare said: ‘He seemed like a nice guy to start with. He knew I had Alfie, he played with him, paid attention to him.
‘But he used to say he would be going to see the kids and sometimes I’d get messages asking where he was. It came out in court that he had been cheating on me.
‘My money had to go into his account, and if I asked for it, I wouldn’t get the money.
‘I wasn’t allowed out, I wasn’t allowed to wear certain clothes. It was horrible.’
Waterson’s nickname for Alfie was ‘little s***’ and Hoare says it felt like he targeted Alfie, regularly telling him off for things and shouting at him.
But she says she felt defenceless and that Waterson ignored her when she pleaded with him to stop.
She added: ‘He is just horrible. I have no other words for him.
Timeline of the Alfie Lamb case
February 2018: Alfie is crushed beneath a car seat as he travels home from a shopping trip in south London and dies in hospital of his injuries three days later.
May 2018: Waterson, his mother’s boyfriend, is charged with perverting the course of justice.
June 2018: Waterson is charged with manslaughter.
February 2019: Alfie’s mother Adrian Hoare is found guilty of child cruelty for failing to help him.
March 2019: Judge orders Waterson face a retrial after a jury failed to reach a verdict on the charge of manslaughter.
May 2019: Hoare is jailed for two years and nine months.
September 2019: Waterson pleads guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence.
November 2019: Waterson is jailed for seven and a half years.
‘He acts as if he’s a nice, caring person. It’s disgusting. Why would you even think of doing something like what he did?
‘It’s destroyed my life.’
Hoare is not allowed to enter the Medway towns of Kent until 2021, and has to have weekly probation meetings.
During her time in jail, she worked as a kitchen assistant and in an insurance call centre for £4 a day.
She said her life behind bars was ‘not easy’, but added: ‘Where I was working in there, it was completely different. I wasn’t in a cell all day or stuck in one place.
‘With it being on the news, some girls reacted and didn’t like it, but some would ask about what actually happened.’
She is receiving around £200 a month in Universal Credit, but hopes to get into work using her hairdressing qualification soon.
She now spends her days with other women in the hostel and takes walks around the area.
Hoare is regularly in touch with her mum, and they are looking to rebuild their relationship – but she does not speak to any old friends.
She still wears a ‘Mum’ring that was bought for her by a relative shortly after she gave birth to Alfie.
Asked if she wants another child or relationship, Hoare said: ‘I haven’t even thought about it yet. I need to find ‘me’ before I try to have another relationship or anything.’
She added: ‘I want to get back into some sort of work and try to restart again.
‘Obviously I’m not going to forget him. I just want to be able to do something.’
Adopted by a loving couple, but killer grew into a ‘wannabe gangster’ whose chaotic lifestyle led to Alfie’s death
One of eight children born to the same mother, Waterson and his siblings were all put up for adoption.
Yet he failed to take advantage of the opportunities his wealthy, well-connected adoptive parents offered him and his younger sister.
He was placed with lawyer Nigel Waterson, MP for Eastbourne, and his lecturer wife, Dr Barbara Judge, who had a five-bed house in Beckenham, south London, a Grade II-listed thatched cottage in East Sussex and holidayed in the South of France.
Nigel Waterson was first elected MP for Eastbourne in 1992 and was a junior minister in John Major’s government, but was defeated by Liberal Democrat Stephen Lloyd at the 2010 general election.
However, school friends remember his adopted son as an ‘angry young man’ with a ‘massive chip on his shoulder’.
At a young age, Stephen Waterson was taken in by Tory MP Nigel Waterson – but it failed to deter him from a life of crime and violence
He boasted about how ‘powerful’ his parents were and used their wealth to impress women, having at least two daughters by two different mothers.
Stephen’s time living with the Watersons failed turn him into a law-abiding citizen, and he has lived a life peppered by incidents of violence.
He attacked one victim in 2014 over a debt of money the man’s wife owed him, and later set upon an ex-girlfriend when she accused him of cheating on her.
As Waterson grew, he adopted a gangster persona, all slang and South London swagger. There was regular trouble with the police and three convictions for assault, two against a former girlfriend.
Friends say Hoare changed after meeting Waterson and put her son Alfie second for fear of upsetting her ‘controlling’ new boyfriend.
Witnesses said Waterson was ‘always annoyed’ with Alfie and would often slap him and throw him on the sofa
Schoolfriend Alicia Midgeley said: ‘He was always very annoyed with Alfie. He had a very short temper with him. Sometimes he would slap him and throw him on to the sofa.
‘But Adrian kept her mouth shut. She told Alfie: ‘Do as you’re told or Stephen is going to get mad’.’
Waterson is said to have worked in a south-London bar and would demand Hoare meet him at all times of the night and day.
Their chaotic lifestyle meant Alfie had no routine and was often out with his mother and Waterson in his car late into the night.
Miss Midgeley said: ‘She would take him out in Stephen’s car and just go and sit in a car park doing God knows what. A normal parent would be sitting at home with their child in bed, looking after them.’
Mr Waterson and Dr Judge declined to comment on the case as they left court today.