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Alfie Lamb: Car death accused mum guilty of cruelty

Alfie Lamb Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Alfie Lamb was described in court as "the loveliest boy you could ever meet"

The mother of a three-year-old boy allegedly crushed by a car seat has been found guilty of child cruelty.

Adrian Hoare, 23, failed to prevent her boyfriend Stephen Waterson, 25, from allegedly squashing Alfie Lamb in the footwell of his Audi convertible with his seat in February last year.

Hoare was cleared of manslaughter while a jury failed to reach a verdict on the same charge for Mr Waterson.

The pair previously admitted perverting the course of justice.

Hoare and Mr Waterson had been travelling with Emilie Williams and Marcus Lamb, who was driving, and were returning to Croydon from a shopping trip in Sutton, south London on 1 February last year.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Adrian Hoare failed to prevent her boyfriend Stephen Waterson from allegedly squashing Alfie

In a police interview played to the court, 19-year-old Ms Williams said Mr Waterson's seat "was right back... because he said he had to stretch his legs right out".

"Alfie was kicking the chair, asking him to move it forward" but apart from shifting it "for a few seconds", Mr Waterson refused, the jury heard.

It was alleged Mr Waterson became annoyed at Alfie's crying and twice moved his front passenger seat into him as he sat at his mother's feet.

Despite Alfie's distress, Hoare said the boy was "getting himself worked up" and she told him to "shut up", Ms Williams said.

Image copyright Met Police/PA
Image caption Stephen Waterson, Adrian Hoare and Alfie Lamb had been on a shopping trip in Sutton, south London

She told police Hoare believed Alfie had gone to sleep when he went quiet, then "thought he was just mucking around" as she tried to wake him.

Ms Williams added that when the boy was lifted from the car by Mr Waterson, he looked "pale" and was not moving.

By the time they arrived at Mr Waterson's home in Croydon, the boy had collapsed and stopped breathing. Medics tried to revive him but Alfie died from crush asphyxia three days later.

Afterwards the defendants lied to police about what happened.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Alfie and another child were both in the rear footwell of the car during the journey to Croydon

The Old Bailey also heard Ms Williams had been threatened by Mr Waterson, who tried to persuade her to lie about what happened.

"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," she said.

Hoare was also "going along with it and helping".

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is deciding whether to push for a retrial on Mr Waterson.

Hoare will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on 4 March.

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