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London - A mother whose three-year-old toddler was crushed to death in a car footwell was jailed on Thursday.

Hairdresser Adrian Hoare, 24, had put son Alfie Lamb between her legs in the back of an Audi A4 as she sat behind boyfriend Stephen Waterson, 25.

Waterson was then accused of deliberately moving his electronically operated seat backwards on to Alfie to punish him for crying, a court heard.

The toddler was heard screaming that he did not have enough space and Waterson – the adopted son of former government minister Nigel Waterson – is alleged to have moved the seat back a second time leaving Alfie unable to breathe.

The child was then crushed again – and screamed "Mummy" – as the car drove to Waterson’s flat in Croydon, south London.

Only then did the pair realise something was wrong, as Waterson pulled him out of the car and tried to revive him, the Old Bailey was told.

By that time, Alfie had suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital. His life support machine was turned off three days later. A pathologist found the youngster died from crush asphyxia caused by the car seat.

Mitigating, Katy Thorne QC said Hoare had a troubled "upbringing" and was left raising the toddler as a single mother "with very little support around her".

Hoare, from Croydon, south London, earlier admitted conspiring to pervert the course of justice in the wake of her son’s death. She was initially cleared of manslaughter following a trial earlier this year but was convicted of child cruelty.

Jailing her for two years and nine months on Thursday, Mr Justice Kerr said: "This is sadly a very common form of danger to children, and until recently it used to be more common still. No parent should ever do what you did, but many do so without their children coming to harm."

The judge added that Hoare had ‘started lying to police within minutes of Alfie collapsing’, adding: "While Alfie lay fatally injured you were telling police he had travelled in a car seat."

Describing her lies as ‘clear and planned’, he said this resulted in "delaying the progress of the investigation for a few weeks".

Waterson, also from Croydon, will stand retrial for manslaughter in September.

Daily Mail