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London mother found guilty of cruelty after son dies from being crushed by car seat

CCTV footage prior to Alfie Lamb getting in the car showed him to be fit and healthy.

Alfie Lamb
Alfie Lamb
Image: Met Police

THE MOTHER AND stepfather of a three-year-old boy who suffered fatal injuries when he was crushed by a car seat have been convicted. 

Adrian Hoare, 23, and Stephen Waterson, 25, of Adams Way, Croydon were both convicted at the Old Bailey today in London.

Paramedics were called to that address in south London on 1 February 2018 after reports that Alfie Lamb was unresponsive.

The toddler had been travelling in an Audi car with four adults, including Hoare, Waterson and Emilie Williams the court heard. He was placed in the footwell of the car, between his mother’s legs and Waterson’s seat on the passenger side. 

Detective chief inspector Simon Harding said: “Adrian Hoare, as the mother of Alfie, and Stephen Waterson, her partner, should have put the safety and well-being of Alfie as their uppermost priority when he was placed in the car on 1 February 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 moved his seat back. 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, given the lack of space even for a child of Alfie’s size, she utterly failed in her duty to protect her child.

The paramedics who treated Alfie identified burst blood vessels around his eyes, which were an indication of suffocation. A pathologist report noted that the boy had died as a result of crush asphyxia.

CCTV footage prior to Alfie getting in the car showed him to be fit and healthy. 

Hoare and Waterson told paramedics they’d been in a taxi when he was found unresponsive, and they repeated this false account to police.

MURDER186-18Waterson and Hoare Stephen Waterson and Adrian Hoare Source: Met Police

Mobile phone records showed that the pair remained in contact when Hoare was taken to Croydon Hospital where her son was being treated.

Williams said Hoare kept the phone line open so Waterson knew what the officers were saying. 

Hoare sent a text to Waterson shortly after she arrived at the hospital saying: “They (police) know we are lying.”

They then changed their story, which police also found to be untrue. Two days after the incident, Waterson made attempts to sell the Audi and successfully sold it for £800 on 8 February.

Police established the facts of the case, and also discovered Waterson had assaulted the fourth person who’d been in the Audi that day in an attempt to stop him talking to police.

Adrian Hoare, Alfie’s mother, was convicted today of child cruelty and common assault.

Alfie’s stepfather Stephen Waterson was found guilty of witness intimidation.

The pair, along with Emilie Williams, were also convicted of perverting the course of justice.

DCI Harding added: “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 focussed her energies on maintaining contact with her partner so they could corroborate their false stories.

The investigation into Alfie’s death has been one of the most distressful some of my officers have been involved in.

They will be sentenced at a later date. 

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Sean Murray

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