A three-year-old child was crushed to death when his mother's boyfriend deliberately pushed his car seat backwards after becoming annoyed at the noise he was making, a court has heard.
Three-year-old Alfie Lamb, had been placed in the rear footwell of an Audi A4 car by his mother Adrian Hoare, 23, as they set off on a journey from their Croydon home last February, the Telegraph UK reports.
But the boy was squashed "at the touch of a button" when her boyfriend, Stephen Waterson, 25, became angry at the "noise and fuss" he was making in the back and twice pushed his electric powered seat backwards.
Alfie, who was described as a "smiley boy" was suffocated and suffered brain damage, eventually dying as a result of "crush asphyxia".
The court heard how Marcus Lamb, 22 had been driving the car with Waterson in the front passenger seat, Hoare behind him and Lamb's girlfriend, Emilie Williams, in the other rear passenger seat.
Rather than securing Alfie in a car seat, his mother had placed the boy in the rear footwell at her feet.
The Old Bailey was told that at some point during the journey, Waterson had become angry and had deliberately moved his electric seat backwards, crushing the child.
Alfie had become distressed and the other passengers had pleaded for Waterson to move the seat forwards.
Alfie's mother, Adrian Hoare, denies manslaughter and child cruelty
But when the youngster made another noise, it is alleged he moved the seat backwards again and held it there.
Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC said the youngster had died as a result of crush asphyxia.
He told the jury: "In effect he was squashed by the car seat and suffocated. This movement of the seat was a deliberate action by Waterson who knew that Alfie was there and was angered by the noise and fuss that the three-and-a-half-year-old was making during the fateful car journey.
"The deliberate movement of the seat, by electrical operation by the touch of a button and involving the application of considerable force to Alfie, took place not once but twice.
"Waterson was prevailed on to move the seat forward again because it became immediately obvious that it was causing Alfie breathing difficulties.
"However, when Alfie made noise again, Waterson deliberately moved his seat back again, and kept it in that reversed position, squashing Alfie, as he again showed signs of breathing problems until he went ominously quiet."
Atkinson said: "Alfie's mother had a duty to protect him from avoidable harm and yet she had failed to do this by inappropriately placing a young child in the rear footwell of a moving car.
"She failed in any meaningful or sufficient way to address the consequences of Waterson's actions."
The trial is being heard at the Old Bailey Credit: PA
The emergency services were called to Hoare's address in Croydon on the evening of February 1 last year to a report of an unresponsive child.
Atkinson told the jury it was "immediately obvious" that Alfie had been dead for some time, even though Lamb was carrying out CPR
The court was told that after the incident, Waterson and Ms Hoare had both repeatedly lied to the police about what had happened.
Hoare allegedly told the paramedics: "We got into a taxi and put him into a child seat and he fell asleep. We tried to wake him and found him unresponsive."
She said the taxi driver had "kicked us out" and left.
Atkinson said it was "only the beginning of the lies that she, and others, were to tell".
Police found CCTV footage which showed that Hoare, Williams, Lamb and Waterson had all travelled together to Adams Way in a dark Audi car.
Atkinson said: "It was during that car journey that something happened to Alfie that compressed his chest and/or abdomen so that he went from an active toddler to a very seriously ill and brain-damaged one."
Since then the other occupants of the car had been attacked, Williams by Hoare and Lamb by Waterson, the court heard.
Hoare denies manslaughter, child cruelty and common assault on Williams.
Waterson has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and intimidation of Lamb.
The couple and Williams have admitted conspiring to pervert the course of justice by making false statements to police.