Nursery worker who strapped baby face down to beanbag and left her for 90 minutes found guilty of manslaughter

20 May 2024, 14:28 | Updated: 20 May 2024, 14:37

Kate Roughley, 37, strapped the baby girl face down on to a bean bag
Kate Roughley, 37, strapped the baby girl face down on to a bean bag. Picture: Shutterstock

By Asher McShane

A nursery nurse who strapped a baby girl face down on to a bean bag for more than a hour and a half has been convicted of her manslaughter.

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Nine-month-old Genevieve Meehan was tightly swaddled and covered with a blanket by Kate Roughley, 37, who put her to sleep when she was in her care 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.

Roughley was remanded in custody ahead of her sentencing on Wednesday afternoon.

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The prosecution said the youngster's death from asphyxiation brought on by a combination of pathophysiological stresses was a direct result of Roughley's actions in creating a "very unsafe sleeping environment".

Peter Wright KC said the defendant had placed Genevieve, known to her family as Gigi, in "mortal danger" with the sleeping arrangements, also inappropriately covering her with a blanket, and then deliberately did nothing about it.

In his closing speech to the jurors, Mr Wright said: "She considered Genevieve was occupying too much of her time and was too vocal, too demanding, so she was going to do something about it.

"Genevieve was being punished for her earlier perceived misdemeanours, for not sleeping long enough for her liking. She was being banished to the bean bag and restrained.

"It was a recipe for disaster, and disaster there followed."

Some jurors were in tears at the start of the trial as they first watched nursery CCTV footage of the baby room which captured the tragedy unfolding as Genevieve was left "virtually immobilised" from 1.35pm to 3.12pm.

Mr Wright said the youngster's desperate fight for survival was clear but her crying and the thrashing and writhing of her body were routinely and repeatedly ignored.

Roughley paid "lip service" to any meaningful checks and Genevieve's wellbeing until it was too late, he said.

Her actions were said to be fuelled by an "illogical and disturbing hostility" towards the youngster which was revealed on further CCTV footage from May 5 and 6.

She was subjected to "rough handling", said the prosecution, by Roughley, who called her "stress head" and on one occasion told her: "Genevieve go home. Do you have to be so loud and constant? Change the record."

Roughley sang to her "stop whingeing" and "Genevieve go home. Please, I'm even asking nicely. You are driving me bananas and I'm not wearing pyjamas".

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