A three-year-old boy died from “crush asphyxia" after his mother’s boyfriend allegedly squashed him by maneuvering the car seat because the victim made noise.

The alleged incident took place Feb. 1, 2018, but the details of the case only recently hit the news circle after Adrian Hoare, 23 and her boyfriend Stephen Waterson, 25, began to face trial for causing the death of Alfie Lamb, the Telegraph reported. 

The two suspects and the victim were traveling with two other occupants - Marcus Lamb, 22, and his girlfriend, Emilie Williams – in an Audi A4 car, on a journey from their home in Croydon, England, when the incident reportedly happened. Alfie had been placed by his mother at the footwell of the backseat, where she was sitting, instead of securing him with a seat beat when they were traveling.

"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,” Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson QC told the court.

At some point during the journey, Waterson, who was sitting in the front, was annoyed by noises that the child was making and in a fit of anger moved his seat backward and held it there, despite other passengers of the car pleading with him to move the seat forward.

"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 child was making during the fateful car journey,” Atkinson told the court.

The action which put the child’s life in danger was done in a “touch of a button” – the vehicle being a fully automatic, electric car – and repeated by Waterson more than once.

“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 added.

On the same night after the incident, the victim became unresponsive and as a result, emergency services were called at Hoare’s address. The prosecutor said the emergency personnel immediately became aware of the fact that the child had been dead for quite some time, although Marcus claimed that he had tried to perform CPR on the child. After an investigation was launched, both Hoare and Waterson lied about events of the day during police interrogation.

"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,” Hoare had said at the time.

Atkinson said that although the victim’s mother did not directly harm the child, she was also responsible for his death because she failed to protect him. “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,” he said.

As the investigation progressed, the both Marcus and Williams have come forward with claims that the suspects attacked them.

Hoarse has been charged with manslaughter, child cruelty and assault on Williams while Waterson has been charged with manslaughter and intimidation of Marcus. Both the suspects have denied the charges.

Justice A three-year-old boy died from “crush asphyxia" after his mother’s boyfriend allegedly squashed him by maneuvering the car seat. In this photo, a statue of the scales of justice stands high above the Old Bailey in London, Dec. 12, 2003. Photo: Getty Images/ Ian Waldie