Daily Mail

Baby ‘died after she was strapped to a bean bag face-down by nursery worker’

- By Richard Marsden

A BABY died at a nursery after being left restrained and sleeping face-down on a bean bag for more than 90 minutes, a court heard.

Nine-month- old Genevieve Meehan was found ‘unresponsi­ve and blue’ in May 2022 with her death arising from ‘ill-treatment’ by nursery worker Kate Roughley, jurors were told.

Prosecutor Peter Wright KC told Manchester Crown Court that Genevieve, known as ‘Gigi’, died from asphyxia and stress that, according to a medical expert, was caused by ‘an unsafe sleep enviery, ronment’. He added: ‘The risk of asphyxiati­on and death was both serious and obvious. Yet the defendant ignored it – and by the time she checked on Genevieve with anything vaguely representi­ng genuine interest in her condition, it was too late.’

Roughley allegedly displayed a ‘lack of sympathy’ towards children and was accused by Mr Wright of ignoring Genevieve’s crying and desperate movements as she struggled to survive.

The 37-year- old is said to have ‘lied’ to police, telling them she constantly checked on babies in her care, ‘to conceal the awful truth of what she had actually done’. Mr Wright said on the day of the tragedy at Tiny Toes Day Nursat Cheadle Hulme in Stockport, deputy manager Roughley, who had 17 years’ experience, was acting as leader in the baby room.

Genevieve was dropped off by parents John Meehan and Katie Wheeler at 9am but found unresponsi­ve later that day at 3.12pm.

Mr Wright claimed the reason for the baby’s condition became clear after looking at CCTV footage.

When Roughley put Genevieve to sleep, she swaddled her in her in a blanket so tightly she was unable to move, he said.

The child was placed not on her back, in line with safety rules, but on her front and face down while strapped to a bean bag using a harness, the court heard.

Genevieve was then covered from head to toe by a blanket, Mr Wright said, with the ‘inevitable consequenc­e’ it would make observatio­ns more difficult and increase the risk of overheatin­g.

He said she was ‘distressed’ yet her cries were ignored. She was left around 1.35pm until her discovery 97 minutes later – with interest by Roughley in Genevieve in this time being ‘sporadic’.

But Sarah Elliot KC, defending, claimed Roughley’s care of Genevieve had been ‘no different to any child’, insisting she looked after children in a ‘ practical, responsibl­e, no- nonsense but caring way’.

Roughley, of Heaton Norris, Stockport, denies manslaught­er and child cruelty. Trial continues.

‘Risk was obvious and serious’

 ?? ?? Centre: Tiny Toes in Cheadle Hulme
Centre: Tiny Toes in Cheadle Hulme
 ?? ?? Accusation­s: Kate Roughley
Accusation­s: Kate Roughley

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