A man who allegedly crushed his girlfriend’s three year old toddler to death with a car seat is said to be using the fact he is the son of a former government minister to make himself ‘untouchable’.
Stephen Waterson, 25, from Croydon, is accused of causing death by crush asphyxia after allegedly twice pushing his car seat back into toddler Alfie Lamb, who was sitting in the rear footwell of the car.
In the days following Alfie’s death last February, Mr Waterson went on to threaten his girlfriend and fellow companions who were travelling in the car in an effort to make them stay quiet about the incident, the Old Bailey has heard.
In an interview with police, the nightclub worker name-dropped his adoptive father, Nigel Waterson, a former Conservative MP, junior minister and lawyer, jurors were told.
When under cross-examination, Katy Thorne QC, suggested Waterston had told police he had “powerful parents”.
She said, “In that interview you used the fact you have got powerful parents, it seems to you, because you like to drop it into conversation all the time.
“You befriend vulnerable people and you are exerting your will over them, making them feel special, and what you do, Mr Waterson, is you use the fact that your parents are powerful people to make you untouchable.”
Waterson replied, “I’m not untouchable.”
Ms Thorne went on, “You like it to be known your father is a lawyer don’t you?
“You would say that your father is an important person, not just a lawyer but he used to be a government minister and you were so powerful because you had these connections.”
Waterson replied, “I don’t know why this is relevant and we are talking about my parents.
“I’ve never used my parents to control anyone.”
A potentially rocky relationship
The court heard how Waterson was texting a number of women while Alfie was gravely ill in hospital, although the defendant insisted not all of the relationships were romantic in nature, and that he was in a state of panic and concern for the boy.
In the weeks before Alfie died, the toddler’s mother Adrian Hoare, 23, had moved in with Waterson for a “new start”.
Jurors were told how Hoare did not have a house key and was not allowed a mobile phone because Waterson was “paranoid she would be in touch with other men”.
Waterson denied the suggestion, stating there was only one house key because he had only just moved in.
Jurors were also told how Hoare did not have her own bank account and all benefits designated to her and Alfie’s were paid into Waterson’s account.
Ms Thorne highlighted to the court dozens of text messages in which Hoare requested money from Waterson to buy food and clothes.
Waterson said in response, “There was no money of hers in that account at that time”.
An ongoing case
Waterson denied deliberately moving his seat back into Alfie after losing his temper on a journey home from a shopping trip in Sutton on 1 February last year.
He told jurors he moved his seat no more than inch, then forward again when he was asked to.
Ms Thorne said, “On your account Mr Waterson, it could not have been the seat that caused his death and you have been framed horribly for Alfie’s death.”
Waterson said, “That’s correct.”
However, Waterson later admitted he would sometimes be violent if “someone harms a member of my family”.
Waterson denied losing his temper with Alfie, but said Hoare had “slapped” him on occasions.
He said on the day of the fateful car journey, she slapped her son because he was “pinching” her.
Both Waterson and Hoare have denied manslaughter, but have admitted to lying to police.