Family's devastating words after 'beautiful and wonderful' toddler killed at nursery

Genevieve Meehan
Genevieve Meehan was just nine months old -Credit:GMP

The devastated family of a toddler who died after being found unresponsive at nursery have released a heartbreaking tribute to their "beautiful and wonderful daughter".

Today (May 20), Kate Roughley has been found guilty of manslaughter following the death of Genevieve Meehan. The 37-year-old, of Heaton Norris, was working at Tiny Toes on Mellor Road, Cheadle Hulme.

Emergency services were called to the Greater Manchester nursery on May 9, 2022. There had been reports a child had been found unresponsive.

Despite the best efforts of paramedics, Genevieve Meehan, who was nine months old at the time, passed away.


Paying tribute to baby Genevieve, her family said: "It has been just over two years since our beautiful and wonderful daughter’s life was taken from her. Genevieve’s loss has destroyed our family. We grieve for her every day. We long desperately to see her smile, hear her laugh and feel her warm embrace. Her absence is a physical and emotional wound that will never heal.

Genevieve Meehan
Emergency services were called to the Greater Manchester nursery on May 9, 2022 -Credit:GMP

"Genevieve wasn’t just a baby, she was a person. She loved to laugh, to play with her tambourine, to eat Spaghetti Bolognese and to be with her big sister. She was kind, affectionate, independent and mischievous. She was fascinated with the world and everything in it. She embraced every day. She loved life and we loved her instantly.

"We were amazed every day watching her grow and develop. She was such a strong person, bright and talented. To be in her presence was such joy.

"We will never accept the cruelty of her life being taken away. That we will not get to hear her speak her first words or watch her grow up is impossible to comprehend. Genevieve could have done anything she wanted to. She had her whole life to live and was loved so dearly by her family.

Kate Roughley has been found guilty of manslaughter
Kate Roughley has been found guilty of manslaughter -Credit:MEN Media

"We grieve for what we do not have. Words cannot adequately convey how much we miss Genevieve. We are so desperate for her to be in our arms as she should be and watching her put on her school uniform in September when she would have started pre-school. Instead, we are here in a place we could never have imagined when we took her to nursery that day on 9 May where she was meant to be safe and cared for. The pain of her loss is beyond any measure.

"We grieve for everything Genevieve has lost. Her life, that was so full of wonder and promise, was taken from her.

"We thank the police for their dedication to getting justice for Genevieve, for their professionalism and their compassion. We would not be here without their commitment or the work of the CPS and the legal team who have fought for Genevieve and our family.

Genevieve Meehan
Genevieve Meehan -Credit:GMP

"Our beautiful daughter deserves to be remembered for the wonderful person she is, not the nature of her death. She deserves to have a legacy so that her life can inspire others. As a family, we will work tirelessly to ensure she has the legacy she deserves."

Kate Roughley was found guilty following a four-week trial. She will be sentenced on May 22.

The court heard how she showed ‘hostility’ towards nine-month-old Genevieve. As captured on haunting CCTV, Roughley was shown to have ‘taken against’ Genevieve, affectionately called Gigi by her family, including by telling her to go home, to ‘stop your whinging’ and later saying to her: “Genevieve if we had any chance of being friends, you just blew it”.

On May 9, 2022, less than half an hour after arriving at the nursery, Roughley swaddled Genevieve in a blanket and put her in a cot face down with a blanket pulled over her. Roughley then placed a sheet over the far end of the cot, restricting visibility.

Later, after around 1.30pm Roughley then swaddled Genevieve in a blanket, wrapping her arms and legs inside, and placed her face down on a bean bag. Genevieve was seen moving her head from side to side while lifting her legs and Roughley covered her with a blanket.

The baby girl was left virtually immobilised and face down from 1.35pm to 3.12pm when Roughley found her blue and unresponsive and raised the alarm, the court previously heard.

Staff and then paramedics attempted to revive Genevieve but her condition was irreversible and she was pronounced dead later that day in hospital.

Detective Inspector Charlotte Whalley, the Senior Investigating Officer for this case said: “Genevieve was so young when her life was so cruelly taken from her, at the hands of a callous and negligent individual. Genevieve should have gone home to her family that day and it was down to the actions of Kate Roughley that she did not.

“At the heart of our investigation is a family whose lives have been torn apart, siblings who will grow up without their sister, parents who will bear the pain of her loss for the rest of their lives, and loved ones who will never get to watch Gigi grow and flourish.

“From the outset, my team has worked tirelessly with the CPS and the council to ensure we can bring some sense of justice for the family you see with me today, and we will continue to do all that we can to support them.

“I welcome the guilty verdict that has been found today, and I extend my gratitude to the jury who have seen and heard the facts of this case, which I have no doubt will stay with them for a long time. Despite the conviction secured today, and the consequences which will ensue at sentencing, I know this will not bring Gigi home to her family.”