Nursery worker treated baby who died 'no different'

Kate Roughley
Kate Roughley said she thought about the baby who died in her care "every day" [BBC]

A nursery worker told a jury she did not treat a baby who died in her care "any differently" to other children.

Kate Roughley, 37, found nine-month-old Genevieve Meehan unresponsive on 9 May 2022, at the Tiny Toes Nursery in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport.

The prosecution alleges the child was left "virtually immobilised" on a beanbag for 90 minutes and that her cries were "simply ignored".

Ms Roughley denies manslaughter and an alternative charge of child cruelty.

Giving evidence at Manchester Crown Court, Ms Roughley said she put Genevieve on her side on the beanbag and that she had "no cause for concern" up to the point when she discovered the youngster was not breathing.

'Nothing different'

Ms Roughley, from Heaton Norris, Stockport, told the jury: “I do feel responsible for Genevieve’s death given she was in my care that day.

"However, I don’t feel my actions were the cause of the death."

Her barrister, Sarah Elliott, KC, said: "In your mind, did you do any unlawful act that contributed to or caused her death?"

Ms Roughley said: "No, I did nothing different on this day to any other day."

She denied bearing any "ill-will" to the child or any "dislike" for her.

Miss Elliott said: "As far as you are concerned, did you wilfully or deliberately potentially ill-treat her in any way?"

Ms Roughley said: "No, I didn’t. I didn’t treat Genevieve any different to any other child in my care."

Manchester Crown Court
Ms Roughley denies that she did any unlawful act that caused Genevieve Meehan's death [Google]

Asked how she now felt about the events of that day, she said: "There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about it."

Along with jurors, Ms Roughley watched CCTV footage of the baby room from 9 May.

She said she had decided to place Genevieve in a beanbag rather than a cot because she had slept better there the week before.

She said the harness was not tight and that Genevieve’s face was looking to the left, with her right cheek on the beanbag.

Ms Roughley said around 30 minutes later she checked on Genevieve and found "nothing of concern".

Minutes later, Genevieve is seen to move her head up and lift her legs, the footage showed.

Miss Elliott asked Ms Roughley: "What was your opinion about that?"

The defendant said: "She did tend to toss and turn her head when she was going to sleep.

"She enjoyed kicking her legs when she went to sleep."

'I panicked'

The defendant agreed that "grunting" could be heard later from the area of the beanbag but said: "She also made that noise in the morning and the week prior. When she had made it in the morning, she went back to sleep soon after."

More than an hour after she first put Genevieve to sleep she carried out a physical check, the court was told, and said she saw that Genevieve was breathing.

Ms Roughley said Genevieve was still lying in the same position when she made a routine check at 15:12 BST

Miss Elliott said: "What did you see?"

The defendant said: "The first thing that I noticed was around her lips it was a little bit blue."

Miss Elliott said: "What else did you notice?"

Ms Roughley said: "That she was not breathing. I panicked and I moved her to double-check she was breathing. I just flipped her over in a panic.

"At that point she needed help, so I ran out to get a senior member of management.”

Miss Elliott asked: "Why did you not do something there and then?"

Roughley said: "I honestly don’t know. I think it was the shock of what had just unfolded and I knew I needed someone to help as quick as possible.

"I couldn’t understand what had happened to her."

The trial continues on Thursday.

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