A toddler cried out for his mother before his was deliberately crushed to death by an electric car seat for being too noisy, a court has heard.
Three and a half year old Alfie Lamb was sitting at his mother’s feet in the rear footwell of an Audi convertible when her boyfriend moved his front seat back in anger at the child’s cries, squashing and suffocating him.
Put on life support
The toddler’s mother, Adrian Hoare (23), did nothing to help her son when he was twice crushed by the front seat occupied by her partner, Stephen Waterson (25), on 1 February last year.
Waterson deliberately moved his seat back after being angered by the fuss and noise the toddler was making, the Old Bailey was told.
Emergency services were called and Alfie was rushed to hospital. He was found to be unresponsive and put on life support, which was switched off days later.
Ms Hoare then went on to lie to police about what happened.
The Audi driver, Marcus Lamb, 22, told police how Alfie collapsed during the journey home from a shopping trip with his then-girlfriend Emilie Williams, 19, and the defendants.
Mr Lamb described how the boy’s mother had been shouting at Alfie, who was screaming and crying.
The witness alleged he heard Ms Hoare slap her child, before the front passenger seat moved back as Alfie cried out, “Mummy”.
Mr Lamb claimed he only realised there was a problem when they arrived at Adams Way in Croydon, south London.
He said Waterson pulled Alfie out of the car and Hoare said, “What have you done?”
A pathologist found the ‘smiley boy’ died from crush asphyxia.
A deliberate action
Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said, “In effect, he was squashed by the car seat and suffocated.
“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.
“The deliberate movement of the seat, by electrical operation – by the touch of a button – and involving the application of considerable force to Alfie took place not once, but twice.
“Waterson was prevailed on to move the seat forward again because it became immediately obvious that it was causing Alfie breathing difficulties.
“However, when Alfie made noise again, Waterson deliberately moved his seat back again, and kept it in that reversed position, squashing Alfie, as he again showed signs of breathing problems until he went ominously quiet.”
Police found CCTV footage which showed Ms Hoare, Mr Waterson, Mr Lamb and Miss Williams had all travelled together in the Audi.
Mr Atkinson said, “It was during that car journey that something happened to Alfie that compressed his chest and/or abdomen, so that he went from an active toddler to a very seriously ill and brain damaged one.”
Since the toddler’s death, Miss Williams has been attacked by Ms Hoare, and Mr Lamb by Mr Waterson, the court heard.
Ms Hoare denies manslaughter, child cruelty and common assault on Miss Williams, while Mr Waterson has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and intimidation of Mr Lamb.
The couple, along with Miss Williams, have pleaded guilty to conspiring to pervert the course of justice by making false statements to police.
The trial is currently still ongoing.