Kate Roughley: Nursery nurse who strapped baby face down on bean bag found guilty of manslaughter

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A nursery nurse who strapped a baby girl face down has been found guilty of manslaughter

A nursery nurse who strapped a baby girl face down on a bean bag for over an hour and a half has been found guilty of manslaughter. Nine-month-old Genevieve Meehan, who was tightly swaddled and covered with a blanket by 37-year-old Kate Roughley, was put to sleep under her care at Tiny Toes nursery in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport. Roughley discovered Genevieve’s unresponsive body on the afternoon of May 9, 2022. Despite efforts from colleagues and paramedics to revive her, Genevieve was pronounced dead later that day in the hospital.

On Monday, a jury of six men and six women at Manchester Crown Court unanimously convicted Roughley, from Heaton Norris, Stockport, of manslaughter. She was remanded in custody, awaiting her sentencing on Wednesday afternoon.

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The prosecution argued that the child’s death from asphyxiation, caused by pathophysiological stresses, was a direct result of Roughley’s actions in creating a "very unsafe sleeping environment." Peter Wright KC said the defendant had placed Genevieve, affectionately known to her family as Gigi, in "mortal danger" by her sleeping arrangements, which included inappropriately covering her with a blanket and then deliberately neglecting her.

Manchester Crown Court, Minshull StreetManchester Crown Court, Minshull Street
Manchester Crown Court, Minshull Street

In his closing speech to the jurors, Mr Wright said: "She considered Genevieve was occupying too much of her time and was too vocal, too demanding, so she was going to do something about it. Genevieve was being punished for her earlier perceived misdemeanours, for not sleeping long enough for her liking. She was being banished to the bean bag and restrained. It was a recipe for disaster, and disaster there followed."

At the start of the trial, some jurors were in tears as they watched nursery CCTV footage capturing the tragedy as Genevieve was left "virtually immobilised" from 1.35 pm to 3.12 pm. Mr Wright described how the child’s desperate fight for survival was evident, but her cries and the thrashing and writhing of her body were routinely and repeatedly ignored. Roughley paid "lip service" to any meaningful checks on Genevieve’s wellbeing until it was too late.

Her actions were driven by an "illogical and disturbing hostility" towards Genevieve, as further CCTV footage from May 5 and 6 revealed. The prosecution stated that Genevieve was subjected to "rough handling" by Roughley, who referred to her as a "stress head" and once said, "Genevieve go home. Do you have to be so loud and constant? Change the record." Roughley also 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."