Alfie Lamb death: Man jailed for crushing girlfriend's son with car seat
14 November 2019, 15:26 | Updated: 14 November 2019, 23:56
A man has been jailed for crushing his girlfriend's young son to death with a car seat.
Alfie Lamb, three, was squashed in the footwell of Stephen Waterson's Audi convertible after the 26-year-old reversed the electric car seat on 15 February last year.
Waterson pleaded guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence ahead of a retrial and has been sentenced to seven years and six months.
The nightclub worker, who is the son of ex-minister Nigel Waterson, was described by police as being "arrogant, selfish and deeply unpleasant".
Alfie's mother, Adrian Hoare, 24, from Gravesend in Kent, has already been found guilty of child cruelty and jailed for two years and nine months at the Old Bailey.
Sentencing Stephen Waterson, Mr Justice Kerr said: "I do not find you were annoyed with Alfie and moved your seat back because of that annoyance."
The judge accepted character references from Waterson's parents, who attended court, and agreed he was "not all bad".
But he said Waterson was "cunning, manipulative, threatening, and controlling".
Mr Justice Kerr sentenced him to five years and six months for the manslaughter.
He handed Waterson a further two years for intimidation and 18 months for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice to run concurrently with each other.
Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC read out a victim impact statement from Alfie's aunt Ashleigh Jeffrey in court.
It read that Alfie had the "best smile" and that his death "has had such a profound effect on my life".
Tana Adkin QC, mitigating, told the court that Waterson had "true feelings of love" for Adrian Hoare and Alfie.
She added: "Whilst thoughtless, I have no doubt, and selfish in his behaviour on 1 February, he was not deliberately malevolent and nasty towards Alfie."
Jurors were initially unable to reach a verdict before Waterson changed his plea to guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence.
Police said Alfie's death was the first time anyone in the UK has died from crush asphyxiation as a result of an electronic seat.
The court heard that Waterson and Hoare had gone shopping for cushions in Sutton with Alfie, as well as Marcus Lamb, 22, and his then-girlfriend Emilie Williams.
In the earlier trial, jurors were shown CCTV of Alfie running to keep up with his mother moments before he was placed in the car for the journey back to Croydon, south London.
The court heard how Waterson became annoyed by Alfie's crying and moved his front passenger seat into him as he sat at his mother's feet.
The maximum space in the footwell was 30cm. At the touch of a button, it could be reduced to just 9.5cm.
When the boy continued to moan, Waterson reversed the seat and said: "I won't be told what to do by a three-year-old."
By the time they reached Waterson's home in Croydon, Alfie had collapsed and stopped breathing.
Waterson fled the scene when medics tried to revive him.
Hoare later lied to the police to protect her boyfriend, claiming she had been in a taxi.
Alfie died from crush asphyxia three days later.
(c) Sky News 2019: Alfie Lamb death: Man jailed for crushing girlfriend's son with car seat