The mother and stepfather of a three-year-old boy, who suffered fatal injuries after he was crushed by a car seat, have been convicted.
Adrian Hoare, 23, and Stephen Waterson, 25, both of Adams Way, Croydon, were convicted at the Old Bailey on Thursday February 21.
The court heard Waterson is the son of former Eastbourne Conservative MP Nigel Waterson.
Hoare was found guilty of child cruelty and common assault. Waterson was found guilty of witness intimidation.
They previously pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
They will be sentenced at the same court on Monday March 4.
The Met Police said in a statement the court heard paramedics were called to Adams Way in Croydon on February 1 2018 to assist an unresponsive child, Alfie Lamb.
The toddler had been travelling in an Audi convertible with four adults; Hoare, Waterson, Emilie Williams and another man.
Alfie had been placed in the footwell of the car, between his mother’s legs and behind Waterson’s seat on the passenger side.
The paramedics who treated Alfie identified burst blood vessels around his eyes, which were an indication of suffocation. The pathologist who examined Alfie found he had died as a result of crush asphyxia.
CCTV footage obtained by police showed the toddler had been fit and healthy when he got into the vehicle in Sutton High Street.
When paramedics first arrived at Adams Way to treat Alfie, Hoare and Williams told them they had been in a taxi when he had become unresponsive. They repeated this false account to police officers who attended the scene.
Analysis of Hoare and Waterson’s mobile phones showed they remained in contact throughout the time Hoare was taken by police to the Croydon hospital where Alfie was being treated.
Williams, who was in the police car with Hoare, said Hoare had kept the phone line open to Waterson so he knew what the officers were saying.
Hoare sent a text to Waterson shortly after she arrived at hospital which read, “They (police) know we are lying.”
Hoare then gave police a different account, saying she had been in a VW Golf with Alfie driven by a man who wanted to buy some cannabis.
Waterson then arrived at the hospital and, after giving police a false name, gave them the same account as Hoare. Williams also made a statement to the same effect.
Two days later, Waterson made attempts to sell the Audi and, on February 8 2018, sold it for £800.
On February 15 2018, Hoare gave police a new account of what had happened in the car. She said that Alfie had been in the footwell between her legs when Waterson moved the seat back.
She said it was only when she got out of the vehicle that she realised there was a problem with Alfie.
The next day, police managed to recover the Audi and subjected it to a detailed forensic analysis.
Police investigating Alfie’s death also said Waterson had assaulted the man driving the Audi on February 18 2018 in an attempt to stop him talking about what had happened.
Hoare and Waterson were arrested on February 28 last year at their home address.
Waterson gave a prepared statement when interviewed, in which he said that he loved children, and would not deliberately harm a child.
Hoare was charged on May 25 with assaulting Williams and on May 27 with ill-treatment of a child, contrary to section 1, Children and Young Persons Act 1933 as well as perverting the course of justice. She was charged with manslaughter on June 6.
Williams was charged on May 27 2018 with perverting the course of justice.
Waterson was charged by postal requisition on May 30 with perverting the course of justice. He was further charged with manslaughter on June 5 and witness intimidation at a later court appearance.
Emilie Williams, 19, of Adams Way, Croydon pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding, said, “Adrian Hoare, as the mother of Alfie, and Stephen Waterson, her partner, should have put the safety and well-being of Alfie as their uppermost priority when he was placed in the car on February 1st last year.
“Instead, they put the toddler, who was just three-and-a-half years old, in the footwell of the vehicle with little or no room to move.
“Waterson moved his seat back. Hoare, who was sitting behind Alfie, failed in any meaningful way to address the consequences of Waterson’s actions. Although the movement of the seat carried with it an obvious risk, given the lack of space even for a child of Alfie’s size, she utterly failed in her duty to protect her child.
“Finding that Alfie was unresponsive once they returned to Adams Way, Hoare and Waterson continuously lied to police in a bid to escape responsibility for their actions.
“Even with her son fighting for his life in intensive care, Hoare showed little or no concern for Alfie and focussed her energies on maintaining contact with her partner so they could corroborate their false stories.
“The investigation into Alfie’s death has been one of the most distressful some of my officers have been involved in.”