Nursery worker jailed for 14 years over death of baby girl strapped face down to beanbag and left for 90 minutes

22 May 2024, 15:24 | Updated: 22 May 2024, 15:39

Roughley (right) discovered Genevieve's (left) lifeless body before colleagues and then paramedics attempted to revive the baby
Roughley (right) discovered Genevieve's (left) lifeless body before colleagues and then paramedics attempted to revive the baby. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

Nursery worker Kate Roughley has been jailed for 14 years over the death of nine-month-old Genevieve Meehan.

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Convicted of manslaughter at Manchester Crown Court on Monday, Roughley was found to have tightly swaddled and covered Genevieve with a blanket when putting her to sleep at Tiny Toes nursery in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport.

Roughley discovered Genevieve's lifeless body on the afternoon of May 9, 2022 before colleagues and then paramedics attempted to revive the baby.

Her condition was irreversible and she was pronounced dead later that day in hospital.

On Monday, a jury of six men and six women at Manchester Crown Court unanimously found Roughley, of Heaton Norris, Stockport, guilty of manslaughter by ill-treatment.

John Meehan speaking on behalf of himself and his wife Katie Meehan, parents of Genevieve Meehan outside Manchester Crown court, Monday
John Meehan speaking on behalf of himself and his wife Katie Meehan, parents of Genevieve Meehan outside Manchester Crown court, Monday. Picture: Alamy

During the trial prosecutors said Roughley "persecuted" the baby for occupying too much of her time.

Genevieve died of asphyxiation brought on by a combination of pathophysiological stresses created by a "very unsafe sleeping environment".

The court heard how Roughley put Genevieve in "mortal danger" because she was "banished" to the bean bag for not sleeping long enough for her liking.

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Jurors were shown CCTV footage of the baby room at the nursery, reducing many of them to tears. Genevieve was left "virtually immobilised" from 1.35pm to 3.12pm.

The defendant's case was that Genevieve's death was a "terrible and unavoidable accident" and not the result of any unlawful acts.

Roughley joined Tiny Toes straight from college at the age of 18 and said she gained most of her knowledge of working with babies and young children from her colleagues.

She said the ratio of staff to children at the nursery "gradually worsened".

In April and May 2022 the staff-to-children ratio was at various times one to nine, two to 11, two to 13 and one to 16, the court heard.

A separate health and safety investigation is continuing into the now-closed Tiny Toes, formerly owned by Franck Pelle, 59, and his wife, Karen, 66.

A second Tiny Toes nursery worker, Rebecca Gregory, 25, of Stockport, is due in court in August after she was charged with four counts of child neglect which are not related to Genevieve.

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