The family of little Alfie Lamb have slammed the three-year-old’s killer as he was finally jailed today.
Stephen Waterson, the adopted son of a former government minister Nigel Waterson, is starting a seven and a half year sentence for manslaughter tonight after he killed Alfie by pushing his car seat back on the youngster.
Alfie was in the rear footwell of an Audi A4 convertible when Waterson twice moved his electric seat back in what prosecutors said was a ‘fit of childish temper’.
The helpless boy was crushed and suffered a heart attack as the group made their way back from a shopping trip in south London last February. He died in hospital three days later when his life support was switched off.
Judge Mr Justice Kerr branded Waterson ‘cunning, manipulative, threatening and controlling’ as he jailed him today.
Waterson will be eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence, meaning he could be free in less than four years.
Alfie Lamb collapsed and stopped breathing after he was crushed beneath Stephen Waterson’s car seat. Waterson was jailed for seven and a half years today
Waterson, pictured (left) after his arrest, is the adopted son of former Tory minister Nigel Waterson, pictured (right) outside court today
Alfie was in the footwell behind the passenger seat of this Audi when he was fatally injured
Speaking after the sentencing today, Alfie’s grandmother Janis Templeton-Hoare said: ‘It’s not going to bring my beautiful little grandson back. I say a life for a life.
‘I’ve got no feelings for Stephen whatsoever. He’s an evil, nasty person. I hope he rots in prison. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.’
Speaking outside court, Alfie’s aunt Ashleigh Jeffery said: ‘No sentence will be enough but today we finally gave Alfie a voice and justice has been done.’
Ms Jeffery, Alfie’s mother’s half-sister, said the family was ‘utterly devastated’ by the boy’s death, adding: ‘He was a very happy three-year-old boy with his whole life ahead of him.’
Alfie’s mother Adrian Hoare, 24, was previously cleared of manslaughter but found guilty of child cruelty. She was jailed for two years and nine months for failing to protect her son who pleaded ‘Mummy, Mummy’ as he was crushed.
In court today, Judge Mr Justice Kerr told Waterson: ‘I do not find you were annoyed with Alfie and moved your seat back because of that annoyance.’
But he said he was satisfied he moved his car seat back twice ‘for your own comfort’.
He also accepted character references from Waterson’s parents, who attended court, and agreed he was ‘not all bad’.
On the cover-up after Alfie’s death, Mr Justice Kerr told Waterson: ‘You orchestrated a campaign of lies, assisted by Ms Hoare who had the misfortune to fall in love with you and was willing to lie to protect you and herself.’
Alfie’s aunt Ashleigh Jeffrey (left) said outside court: ‘No sentence will be enough.’ Alfie’s grandmother Janis Templeton-Hoare (right) said she hopes ‘Waterson rots in prison’
Former minister Nigel Waterson and Waterson’s adoptive mother Barbara Judge were at court today but declined to comment
Alfie’s mother, Adrian Hoare, 24, from Gravesend in Kent, has already been found guilty of child cruelty and jailed for two years and nine months
Waterson got five years and six months for the manslaughter and further two years for intimidation.
He had faced a retrial after a jury at his first trial failed to reach a verdict. But before the retrial could begin, he admitted manslaughter by gross negligence.
Timeline of the Alfie Lamb case
February 2018: Alfie is crushed beneath a car seat as he travels home from a shopping trip in south London and dies in hospital of his injuries three days later.
May 2018: Waterson, his mother’s boyfriend, is charged with perverting the course of justice.
June 2018: Waterson is charged with manslaughter.
February 2019: Alfie’s mother Adrian Hoare is found guilty of child cruelty for failing to help him.
March 2019: Judge orders Waterson face a retrial after a jury failed to reach a verdict on the charge of manslaughter.
May 2019: Hoare is jailed for two years and nine months.
September 2019: Waterson pleads guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence.
November 2019: Waterson is jailed for seven and a half years.
Jurors in the earlier trial were shown CCTV of Alfie running to keep up with his mother moments before he was put in the car for the journey back to Croydon, south London.
Once in the vehicle, Waterson had pushed his seat back onto him, causing catastrophic injuries.
By the time they arrived at Waterson’s home in Croydon, the little boy had stopped breathing.
As medics desperately tried to revive him, Waterson fled the scene and Hoare spun a web of lies to protect her boyfriend, claiming she had been in a taxi.
Alfie, nicknamed ‘Little Tarzan’ by the defendants, died from crush asphyxia three days later.
Alfie Lamb’s grandmother Janis Templeton-Hoare, 53, has previously said Waterson had ruined her grandson’s life after starting a relationship with her daughter, Adrian Hoare.
She told MailOnline: ‘Stephen is one nasty, nasty boy. I hated him from the moment I met him. He’s a wannabe gangster.’
CCTV showed little Alfie having to run to keep up with Waterson and Hoare during the shopping trip before he was killed
Waterson, Hoare and Alfie were being driven home in this car when the incident happened
One of Hoare’s friends, barmaid Emilie Williams, 20, had admitted conspiring to pervert the course of justice after being threatened and ‘coerced’ into lying to police by Waterson.
Williams, who is pregnant and due to give birth in January, was today sentenced to five months imprisonment suspended for 18 months and 100 hours of unpaid work, to be completed after she gives birth.
Pregnant barmaid Williams, 20, had admitted conspiring to pervert the course of justice after being threatened and ‘coerced’ into lying to police by Waterson. She avoided jail today
Williams was in the car with Hoare, Waterson, and Marcus Lamb, 22, as well as another young child, at the time of the fatal incident.
Waterson and Hoare had reportedly been shopping for cushions in Sutton, south London.
Following her son’s death, Hoare eventually broke her silence and told her half-sister, Ashleigh Jeffrey, what happened in a taped conversation handed to police.
But Waterson blamed Mr Lamb, whom he regarded as a stepbrother, for being a ‘grass’ and put his foot on his head during a violent assault in Crystal Palace Park, which was filmed on his mobile phone.
Jurors in the first trial were told that Waterson was a controlling womaniser who also had a violent temper, with three previous convictions for attacking an ex-girlfriend and his sister’s husband.
Giving evidence earlier this year, he denied he would hurt a child and said he moved his seat back once by up to an inch.
A serious case review of authorities’ contact with Alfie is being carried out by Medway Safeguarding Children Board in Kent.
Adopted by a loving couple, but killer grew into a ‘wannabe gangster’ whose chaotic lifestyle led to Alfie’s death
One of eight children born to the same mother, Waterson and his siblings were all put up for adoption.
Yet he failed to take advantage of the opportunities his wealthy, well-connected adoptive parents offered him and his younger sister.
He was placed with lawyer Nigel Waterson, MP for Eastbourne, and his lecturer wife, Dr Barbara Judge, who had a five-bed house in Beckenham, south London, a Grade II-listed thatched cottage in East Sussex and holidayed in the South of France.
Nigel Waterson was first elected MP for Eastbourne in 1992 and was a junior minister in John Major’s government, but was defeated by Liberal Democrat Stephen Lloyd at the 2010 general election.
However, school friends remember his adopted son as an ‘angry young man’ with a ‘massive chip on his shoulder’.
At a young age, Stephen Waterson was taken in by Tory MP Nigel Waterson – but it failed to deter him from a life of crime and violence
He boasted about how ‘powerful’ his parents were and used their wealth to impress women, having at least two daughters by two different mothers.
Stephen’s time living with the Watersons failed turn him into a law-abiding citizen, and he has lived a life peppered by incidents of violence.
He attacked one victim in 2014 over a debt of money the man’s wife owed him, and later set upon an ex-girlfriend when she accused him of cheating on her.
As Waterson grew, he adopted a gangster persona, all slang and South London swagger. There was regular trouble with the police and three convictions for assault, two against a former girlfriend.
Friends say Hoare changed after meeting Waterson and put her son Alfie second for fear of upsetting her ‘controlling’ new boyfriend.
Witnesses said Waterson was ‘always annoyed’ with Alfie and would often slap him and throw him on the sofa
Schoolfriend Alicia Midgeley said: ‘He was always very annoyed with Alfie. He had a very short temper with him. Sometimes he would slap him and throw him on to the sofa.
‘But Adrian kept her mouth shut. She told Alfie: ‘Do as you’re told or Stephen is going to get mad’.’
Waterson is said to have worked in a south-London bar and would demand Hoare meet him at all times of the night and day.
Their chaotic lifestyle meant Alfie had no routine and was often out with his mother and Waterson in his car late into the night.
Miss Midgeley said: ‘She would take him out in Stephen’s car and just go and sit in a car park doing God knows what. A normal parent would be sitting at home with their child in bed, looking after them.’
Mr Waterson and Dr Judge declined to comment on the case as they left court today.