Toddler 'almost hanged herself' in bed by same company which made cot where seven month old baby died, Leeds court told

The cot at the centre of the trial. Photo: PA
The cot at the centre of the trial. Photo: PA

A toddler “almost hanged herself” in a bed made by the same company who designed the cot in which a seven-month-old baby choked to death, a court heard.

Little Oscar Abbey tragically died on November 3 2016, after sleeping in a bed designed and constructed by defendant Craig Williams, 37.

Craig Williams denies manslaughter. Photo: SWNS

Craig Williams denies manslaughter. Photo: SWNS

-> Bed designer denies manslaughter of baby who choked to death in cot
Another young child had previously managed to get her entire body through a slant in her bed with her whole weight supported by just her neck, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor John Elvidge QC read out a statement to the jury on behalf of the child’s mother, Nashimea McLaughlin which explained how she found the bed through Facebook.

She said in a statement: “For the first six months, she slept in a Moses basket before she was moved to her cot.

“However, she quickly reached the age where she could climb out, so I began to search on Facebook and found several companies.”

The court heard Ms McLaughlin found Williams’ company Playtime Beds Limited over the social media site and ordered a bed costing £700.

Nashimea ordered a ‘play time all sleeper bed’ for her daughter who was just over two years old, the court heard.

In a statement, she said: “I can’t recall if I mentioned her age, but I knew I was putting her in a bed at a young age but she could climb out of her cot.”

The court heard during summer 2016, Nashimea put her daughter to bed as usual at around 5pm before returning to check on her at 11pm to find her whole body through the slant in the bed.

Ms McLaughlin said in a statement: “She had managed to wiggle her entire body through the slant in the bed.

“I had previously found her with an arm or leg stuck out but not like this.

“Her whole body and arms were through the slant. She was just lying there by the neck but she was still fast asleep.

“I gently pushed her back through and there was no bruising on her neck at all.

“I am just so grateful I checked on her when I did, as I dread to think what may have happened if I hadn’t.

"We didn’t even think of contacting the bed company over what had happened.

“We thought it was our decision as parents to put her into a grown-up bed. I had no idea about any safety regulations.”

After the incident, Ms McLaughlin covered the slants with pillows to stop anything happening again and her daughter is now big enough to not fit through the slants.

The jury heard how, on December 18 last year, Ms McLaughlin wrote a Facebook post after seeing angry posts by other Playtime Beds customers.

In the Facebook post, she wrote: “The problem is the U shaped cut on the bed.

“My daughter almost hung herself. She is now bigger and can’t fit through the slants and she loves her bed.”

At the time she wasn’t aware a baby had died and thought people were deliberately hounding the company, the court heard.

Opening the case, prosecutor John Elvidge QC previously told the court: "This prosecution arises out of a fatal incident on the 3rd of November 2016 when a seven-month-old child, Oscar Abbey, died at home from positional asphyxia.

"During the course of the night he wriggled his body through the holes in the front of his cot bed but his head was too big to fit through.

"In effect, he choked to death, he was starved of oxygen.

"He died because the cot bed bought by the parents from the defendant was designed and constructed without any care or thought for the safety of the child who was sleeping in it.

"Oscar died, say the prosecution, due to the defendant's gross negligence."

Williams is charged with manslaughter which he denies.

He also faces a count of fraud by false representation in relation to the sale of a further cot-bed.

The trial continues.