Woman Charged After Baby's Death

Health and safety failing

30.07.2008

A former nursery owner has been charged with failing to stop the entanglement and strangulation of children after a baby girl died from wrapping a drawstring bag around her neck.

Sixteen-month-old Molly Cunliffe strangled herself on a clothes bag attached to her cot at Tiddlywinks Nursery in Gloucester after she was left unattended for more than 20 minutes.

At an inquest last year, the jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing after hearing that Molly had been left in the care of a 17-year-old student and an unqualified member of staff while senior managers held a meeting upstairs.

Rosemarie Meadows, 45, who owned the nursery at the time of the tragedy in October 2005, has now been charged with two counts of breaching health and safety regulations. She was due to enter her pleas at Gloucester Magistrates' Court but the case was adjourned so that defence lawyer Simon Morgan could have a "deep discussion" with his client.

The case will return to Gloucester on September 12 when Ms Meadows will enter pleas.

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David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "When parents allow their children to be cared for by a nursery, they should be able to be confident that the nursery will take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their child.

"The circumstances of this particular case are the subject matter of court action.

"Generally however, nurseries should carry our suitable and sufficient risk assessment and ensure there are appropriately trained staff able to protect the children they are responsible for, from harm.

"I have pursued numerous claims for compensation on behalf of children who have suffered injury during their time under the care of nurseries."