Nursery Worker Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Tragic Death of Nine-Month-Old

 Nursery Worker Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Tragic Death of Nine-Month-Old

(Image: GMP)

A nursery worker in Stockport has been found guilty of manslaughter after strapping a nine-month-old baby face down to a beanbag and leaving her there for 90 minutes. The incident occurred at Tiny Toes Nursery in Cheadle Hulme and resulted in the tragic death of Genevieve Meehan on May 9, 2022.

Kate Roughley, 37, was charged with putting Genevieve in “mortal danger” as a form of punishment. The trial revealed that the child died from asphyxiation after being placed in a highly unsafe sleeping environment. Roughley had used straps to secure the baby, allegedly to prevent her from falling off, but this action led to the child’s death.

Genevieve’s family expressed their devastation in a statement, saying they grieve for everything Genevieve has lost. Her life, which was so full of wonder and promise, was taken from her. The family described Genevieve as kind, affectionate, independent, and mischievous, with a love for life that they cherished deeply, told The Bolton News.

During the trial, it was disclosed that Genevieve had been swaddled and placed face down on the beanbag, where she eventually became unwell. Roughley claimed that the beanbag was commonly used for babies when the nursery’s cots were full. However, the jury was shown CCTV footage from the nursery that captured the tragic event as Genevieve was left “virtually immobilized” for over an hour and a half.

Prosecutor Peter Wright KC argued that Roughley’s actions were deliberate, suggesting that Genevieve was being punished for not sleeping as expected. He stated that Genevieve was being punished for her earlier perceived misdemeanors, for not sleeping long enough for her liking. She was being banished to the beanbag and restrained. It was a recipe for disaster, and disaster there followed.

The trial’s jury, composed of six men and six women, found Roughley guilty of unlawful acts of manslaughter. Some jurors were visibly emotional as they watched the nursery’s CCTV footage showing Genevieve’s struggle and eventual death. Wright emphasized the baby’s desperate fight for survival, which was tragically ignored by Roughley.

CCTV footage revealed Roughley’s complete lack of care and tenderness towards Genevieve, depicting instances of rough handling and harsh comments. Roughley admitted to appearing impatient on the footage but denied any malice, insisting that her actions were meant to entertain the babies.

Despite Roughley’s claims of treating Genevieve no differently from other children and asserting that the baby’s death was an unavoidable accident, the court found her actions inexcusable. The defense highlighted that the staff-to-child ratio at the nursery had worsened significantly, potentially contributing to the incident.

Genevieve’s family expressed their deep sorrow, stating their desperation to have her in their arms and the heartbreaking reality of her absence. They lamented that instead of watching her start preschool, they are dealing with her tragic death.

Karen Tonge from the Crown Prosecution Service North West commented on the verdict, highlighting Roughley’s complete disregard for Genevieve’s wellbeing. Tonge stated that for some inexplicable reason, Kate Roughley had taken a dislike to Genevieve, and this was clear for all to hear and see. Roughley will be sentenced on Wednesday, closing a heartbreaking chapter for Genevieve’s family and the community.

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