Man admits fatally crushing Alfie Lamb, 3, behind car seat 'in fit of childish temper'

2 September 2019, 15:53

Stephen Waterson has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Alfie Lamb
Stephen Waterson has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Alfie Lamb. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

A man who crushed his girlfriend's son to death with his car seat has pleaded guilty to the his's manslaughter.

Stephen Waterson, 26, squashed Alfie Lamb, three, in the footwell of his Audi convertible in February last year while the little boy's mum Adrian Hoare looked on.

The pair had been on a shopping trip with Alfie, but the Old Bailey was told Waterson threw a "fit of childish temper" because Alfie would not stop crying after being forced into the footwell of the car by his mother's feet.

The court was told how the maximum space of the footwell was 30cm, which could be reduced to 9.5cm at the touch of a button.

When Alfie continued to moan, Waterson reversed again saying: "I won't be told what to do by a three-year-old," Hoare told jurors.

By the time they arrived at Waterson's home in Croydon, the boy had collapsed and stopped breathing.

As medics desperately tried to revive him, Waterson fled the scene and Hoare spun a web of lies to protect her boyfriend, claiming she had been in a taxi.

Alfie died from crush asphyxia three days later.

It is the first time anyone in the UK has died from crush asphyxiation as a result of an electronic car seat, police have said.

Afterwards, Waterson, adopted son of former Tory minister Nigel Waterson, orchestrated a cover-up to avoid being implicated in the death.

As police closed in, Waterson gave officers a false name and false statement, and sold the Audi.

He threatened to make Hoare and the other witnesses "disappear" if they did not stick with their fake stories.

Hoare eventually broke her silence and told her half sister Ashleigh Jeffrey what happened in a taped conversation handed to police.

Waterson, from Croyon, previously denied Alfie's manslaughter but was facing a retrial after a jury failed to reach a verdict.

But before the fresh trial could begin on Monday, Waterson changed his plea and admitted Alfie's manslaughter by gross negligence.

Hoare, 24, is currently serving two years and nine months behind bars after being found guilty of child cruelty.

Both Waterson and Hoare had admitted conspiring to pervert the course of justice by lying to police.

Waterson was convicted of intimidating a witness and Hoare of assaulting another witness.

Scotland Yard's detective chief inspector Simon Harding branded Waterson "arrogant, selfish and deeply unpleasant" and said justice had been served for Alfie.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC remanded Waterson into custody to be sentenced on Monday September 9.