York & North Yorkshire

Sophee Redhead cleared over Lydia Bishop nursery death

Lydia Bishop
Image caption Lydia Bishop died on her first full day at York College nursery

A former nursery worker has been acquitted over the death of a three-year-old girl in her care.

Lydia Bishop got her neck caught in a rope on an outdoor slide in September 2012, on what was her first full day at York College nursery.

Sophee Redhead, 25, of York, had denied manslaughter by gross negligence.

She was cleared, although York College was found guilty by the jury at Leeds Crown Court of health and safety breaches in relation to the nursery.

The college operated the nursery, which has since been closed, for children of staff, students and members of the public.

'Terrible tragedy'

Lydia died after a rope attached to a slide at the nursery became entangled around her neck.

She lay undiscovered for 20 minutes before Miss Redhead found her.

Image caption The nursery at York College has closed since the death

The trial heard the rope had been attached to the slide by nursery staff and was supposed to have been removed at the end of every supervised play session.

However, the rope had been in place for about two months at the time of Lydia's death.

The trial heard that Lydia's mother Rebecca Dick had just enrolled on a course at the college and had been for introductory sessions with her daughter.

The day Lydia died was her first full day at the nursery, the jury was told, and her mother was assured children were not left alone outside to play on the apparatus.

Following the verdict, Det Ch Insp Nigel Costello, of North Yorkshire Police, said: "This was an extremely tragic case for all concerned, not least for Lydia's family who have been left devastated by the loss of their daughter."

Alison Birkinshaw, principal and chief executive of York College, said: "We deeply regret what happened and can't begin to imagine the pain experienced by Lydia's family and everyone affected by this terrible tragedy."

The judge, Mr Justice Coulson, said York College would be sentenced next week.

Miss Redhead was also acquitted of an alternative charge of failing to take "reasonable care" of the girl under health and safety legislation.

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