A TODDLER was crushed to death by a car seat when his mother’s boyfriend wanted to stretch his long legs out in the front, a court heard today.
Alfie Lamb was just three when he was squashed in the rear footwell of a blue Audi convertible by Stephen Waterson, the Old Bailey was told.
The youngster cried and sobbed “Mummy, Mummy” as he made choking noises after Waterson reversed his seat back twice in anger, jurors heard.
But the court was told his mum, Adrian Hoare, simply told him to be quiet as they drove back from a shopping trip to Sutton, South London.
Hoare, 23 and Waterson, 25, from Croydon, South London, are on trial accused of his manslaughter.
Emilie Williams, 19, was sitting next to Hoare in the back of the car during the trip on February 1 last year.
In a videoed police interview, Miss Williams said they all went together and Marcus Lamb, 22, was driving.
She said she was forced to put a second youngster in the rear footwell next to Alfie because she was not allowed to take the children’s car seat.
Miss Williams said: “Alfie was crying so much it sounded like he was choking”, but that his mum said he was OK.
She said: “Marcus’s chair was right forward and Stephen’s chair was right back. Alfie was kicking the chair, asking him to move it forward.”
Waterson said no “because he said he had to stretch his legs right out”, Miss Williams said.
She added: “He had enough room but he wanted to stretch them out because his legs are quite long.
“He moved it forward once but only for a few seconds, only a little bit but it gave Alfie more room.
“Adrian just kept telling him to be quiet and they would be home soon. Like ‘We will be home soon, shut up’.”
Miss Williams said Hoare told her Alfie was only crying because he was “getting himself worked up”.
When he went quiet she thought he had gone to sleep, the court heard.
She said: “As we were pulling up, she tried to wake Alfie up. She told him not to be silly. She thought he was just mucking around.”
When Waterson took Alfie out of the car, the child was looking “pale” and not moving, the witness said.
Afterwards, Waterson threatened Miss Williams as he tried to persuade her to lie about what happened, jurors were told.
She said: “He was telling me a lot of things. He said he would put me in the boot of the car and get rid of me. He said he would kill me.”
Hoare was “going along with it and helping”, she added.
Duncan Atkinson QC, prosecuting, said a pathologist found the “smiley boy” died from crush asphyxia, before claiming the couple repeatedly lied to cover up the crime.
He said: “In effect, he was squashed by the car seat and suffocated.
“This movement of the seat was a deliberate action by Waterson who knew that Alfie was there and was angered by the noise and fuss that the three-and-a-half-year-old was making during the fateful car journey.”
Hoare denies manslaughter, child cruelty and common assault on Miss Williams.
Waterson has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and intimidation of Mr Lamb.
The couple and Williams have pleaded guilty to conspiring to pervert the course of justice by making false statements to police.