Nursery nurse jailed for 14 years for manslaughter of baby Genevieve Meehan

Kate Roughley arriving at Manchester Crown court
Kate Roughley arriving at Manchester Crown court -Credit:PA

A nursery nurse has been jailed today for causing the death of a nine-month-old baby.

Kate Roughley, 37 was jailed at Manchester Crown Court for 14 years for the manslaughter of nine-month-old Genevieve Meehan.

The court heard how Roughley strapped the baby girl face down on to a bean bag for more than 90 minutes. She tightly swaddled Genevieve Meehan before she further restrained her with a harness and then inappropriately covered her with a blanket.

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Roughley then failed to conduct adequate checks on the distressed infant before she discovered her unresponsive and blue on the afternoon of May 9 2022.

Her colleagues at Tiny Toes nursery in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, and paramedics tried to revive Genevieve but her condition was irreversible and she was pronounced dead later that day in hospital.

On Monday, a jury at Manchester Crown Court unanimously found Roughley guilty of manslaughter by ill-treatment after the prosecution said she “persecuted” the youngster for occupying too much of her time.

Genevieve, the daughter of barrister John Meehan and solicitor Katie Wheeler, died from asphyxiation brought on by a combination of pathophysiological stresses created by a “very unsafe sleeping environment”.

Roughley put Genevieve in “mortal danger” as she was “banished” to the bean bag for earlier not sleeping long enough for her liking, the court heard.

Following the verdict, Genevieve’s parents said they would “never forgive the callousness” of Roughley for treating their daughter with “cruelty and contempt”.

Some jurors were in tears at the start of the trial as they first watched nursery CCTV footage of the baby room which captured the tragedy unfolding as Genevieve was left “virtually immobilised” from 1.35pm to 3.12pm.

Prosecutor Peter Wright KC said the youngster’s desperate fight for survival was clear but her crying and the thrashing and writhing of her body were routinely and repeatedly ignored.

Roughley paid “lip service” to any meaningful checks and Genevieve’s wellbeing until it was too late, he said.

Her actions were said to be fuelled by an “illogical and disturbing hostility” towards the youngster which was revealed on further CCTV footage from May 5 and 6.

She was subjected to “rough handling”, said the prosecution, by Roughley, who called her “stress head” and on one occasion told her: “Genevieve go home. Do you have to be so loud and constant? Change the record.”

Roughley sang to her “stop whingeing” and “Genevieve go home. Please, I’m even asking nicely. You are driving me bananas and I’m not wearing pyjamas”.

The defendant’s case was that Genevieve’s death was a “terrible and unavoidable accident” and not the result of any unlawful acts.

Roughley, of Heaton Norris, Stockport, joined Tiny Toes straight from college at the age of 18 and said she gained most of her knowledge of working with babies and young children from her colleagues.

She claimed she placed Genevieve on her side and that she remained in that position, with her face visible throughout. Roughley argued she made suitable and appropriate checks on Genevieve and denied that she disliked her.

It is understood a separate health and safety investigation into the now-closed Tiny Toes is ongoing.

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