Infection had no role in nursery death - doctor

Kate Roughley
Kate Roughley is accused of her manslaughter by ill treatment [BBC]

A viral infection had "no material role" in the death of a baby girl who was strapped face down to a nursery bean bag for more than 90 minutes, a court has heard.

Genevieve Meehan was in hospital with symptoms of RSV bronchiolitis before she died at Tiny Toes Nursery in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport.

Consultant respiratory paediatrician Dr Mark Rosenthal told Manchester Crown Court her condition was "nothing extraordinary".

Kate Roughley, 37, denies the manslaughter by ill-treatment of the nine-month old.

'Distress ignored'

Just over a week before her death, Genevieve was discharged from hospital to parents John Meehan and Katie Wheeler, and provided with an inhaler.

She returned to the nursery on May 5 and 6 but on the afternoon of 9 May she was found unresponsive and blue by nursery nurse Kate Roughley.

Roughley, who was also a deputy manager at the nursery, had swaddled the youngster in a blanket and put her on her front on to the bean bag, the court heard.

A jury heard how she then fastened a strap across Genevieve's back before she later placed another cover over her.

The prosecution said Roughley's interest in Genevieve's wellbeing after that was "sporadic and, at best, fleeting" and that the child's cries, distress and efforts to move or reposition herself were ignored.

Dr Rosenthal said Genevieve's prior stay in hospital was "above average" for RSV bronchiolitis, but it was his view that when she was discharged, Genevieve was not "any more vulnerable to a sudden and unexpected death than the rest of the infant population as a result of the admission".

"I concluded that the viral bronchiolitis and prior hospital admission had no material role in Genevieve's death," he said.

Jurors were told that Genevieve's parents said their daughter was "snotty" on May 9 before she was taken to the nursery, but "otherwise was her normal self".

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

Last week the jury was told by her barrister, Sarah Elliott KC, that Roughley's case was that Genevieve's death was a "tragic and unavoidable accident".

The trial continues.

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