CCTV shown to jurors of moment nursery worker realised baby girl was not breathing

Kate Roughley denies manslaughter by ill-treatment -Credit:Manchester Evening News
Kate Roughley denies manslaughter by ill-treatment -Credit:Manchester Evening News

Jurors have watched the moment a nursery worker realised a baby girl was not breathing after the child was strapped face down on to a bean bag for more than 90 minutes.

Kate Roughley, 37, is on trial at Manchester Crown Court accused of the manslaughter by ill-treatment of nine-month-old Genevieve Meehan, who she cared for at the Tiny Toes Nursery in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport.

The defendant had earlier swaddled the youngster in a blanket and put her on her front onto a bean bag. She then fastened a strap across Genevieve's back before she placed another cover over her.

READ MORE: Corrupt GMP cop with gambling addiction abused his position for perks - until it all came crashing down

CCTV footage from the baby room showed that one hour and 37 minutes later she approached Genevieve, leaned over and placed her right hand on the child's back for several seconds.

Roughley then crouched down, pulled the bean bag towards her, lifted the cover and flipped Genevieve over before she jumped up and said: "S**t, she's not breathing."

A colleague replied: "What?"

Roughley repeated 'she's not breathing' and then hurriedly walked out of the room.

Jurors were then told the colleague unfastened the strap and unwrapped the blanket before a manager came over to check the youngster and carried her to a play mat. Genevieve appeared floppy with her head going back and her legs dangling, the court heard.

Four staff members gathered around Genevieve at one point as they called her name and attempted to arouse her without success before chest compressions were given ahead of the arrival of paramedics.

Genevieve, the daughter of Katie Wheeler and John Meehan, was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead later on the afternoon of May 9 2022.

Opening the case earlier this week, prosecutor Peter Wright KC told jurors that strapping a child to a bean bag on their front was an 'obvious recipe for disaster' and led to the death of the youngster from a combination of asphyxia and pathophysiological stress.

Mr Wright said Genevieve was left virtually immobilised and face down from 1.35pm to 3.12pm, and that her cries, distress and efforts to move or reposition herself were ignored.

Kate Roughley -Credit:Manchester Evening News
Kate Roughley -Credit:Manchester Evening News

Any level of interest in Genevieve's wellbeing was sporadic and, at best, fleeting, alleged the Crown.

Footage showed the youngster was brought into the nursery at 9.01am and some 34 minutes later was put to sleep by Roughley who swaddled her and placed her in a cot with an added blanket pulled over.

About 10 minutes later the defendant is heard telling a colleague: "I was tidying up but then you came back in. I did it because I knew Genevieve was screaming but if you keep yourself busy you can't hear her crying."

As more crying and then coughing follows, the defendant then picks Genevieve out of the cot and puts her down on a play mat.

Roughley is then heard to say "vile" before she turned in the direction of the youngster and said: "Twenty minutes. Twenty minutes."

The defendant went on to use a tablet to take photographs of Genevieve playing - photographs which were often taken to send to parents, the court has heard.

Within an hour, Roughley is seen clapping and singing 'oh Genevieve. Genevieve go home, Genevieve go home, go home Genevieve' as the youngster cries on the play mat.

Roughley went on to administer an inhaler to Genevieve who weeks earlier was treated in hospital for a chest infection. Shortly before 1.30pm, Roughley tells a colleague: "She has been awake since half 10."

The colleague responds: "She must be tired though, surely."

Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square -Credit:ABNM Photography
Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square -Credit:ABNM Photography

Roughley said: "Rather just put her on the bean bag, then I'm not wasting a cot. Cos if I put her in there she's going to scream and wake (unnamed child) up."

CCTV captured Genevieve raising her head and legs as well as wriggling on the bean bag as crying can be heard. The tone of the crying further intensifies to a deeper grunting sound at 2.14pm as movement on the bean bag continues.

At 2.23pm, the crying stops and a minute later the final leg movements from Genevieve are seen.

At 2.46pm, Roughley bends over Genevieve without touching her before she tells a colleague: "I couldn't see her chest going up and down."

She walks over to Genevieve again seven minutes later and says to her colleague: "I don't want to move her cos that's why she woke up last time's a holey blanket so she should be alright."

Roughley, of Heaton Norris, Stockport, denies manslaughter and an alternative count of child cruelty.