A NURSERY worker accused of the manslaughter of a girl in her care has denied she did not look after the child properly.
Sophee Redhead, 25, told a jury of the moment she saw three-year-old Lydia Bishop motionless on a slide at York College nursery with a rope round her neck.
The prosecution alleges she knew the child had gone towards the slide when there was a rope attached to it and allowed her to stay there alone for 20 minutes, during which time she was fatally injured.
Redhead, of Wenham Road in Foxwood, York, denies causing the death of Lydia Bishop by gross negligence on September 17, 2012.
Asked by her barrister Alistair MacDonald QC: “Were you exercising vigilance in relation to Lydia as you understood it?” she replied: “Yes”.
She claimed at Leeds Crown Court she had last seen the child playing in a sand pit on the same side as her of a “makeshift barrier” aimed at stopping the children from reaching the slide unsupervised.
Redhead said she was comforting a child who had fallen over and was still with the child when a colleague, Chloe Moses, said Lydia had not had her afternoon snack inside, and she realised the three-year-old was no longer in the sand pit.
“The only other place she could be if she wasn’t inside was round by the slide,” she told the jury, adding that she went through the barrier towards it.
“As I got closer I saw something on the slide, something white”.
After lunch, Lydia had played dressing up with white trousers over her own.
She said: “I could see something wasn’t right” and she began to run. As I got closer I realised that she was on the slide.”
“Did she have some rope round her neck?” asked Mr MacDonald.
“Yes,” replied Redhead. “I shook her shoulders and shouted her name.”
When Lydia didn’t reply, she took her inside where she and other staff tried to resuscitate her until paramedics arrived. Later that afternoon, the staff were told Lydia had died. Everyone including her was very distressed.
When prosecution barrister Robert Smith QC alleged: “You had failed in your duty of supervision towards her,” she replied: “No.”
Earlier, she had alleged another staff member had been in a position where she could see children going past the barrier.
Redhead, who had worked at the nursery for six years, said she enjoyed working with children.
She said she may have told a doctor at 6.15pm on September 17, that she had seen Lydia going up the steps to the slide and shouted at her to come back, but she couldn’t remember saying it.
She denied seeing Lydia on the steps or going past the barrier towards the slide and denied seeing a rope attached to the slide at about 9.30 am on September 17.
York College denies a breach of health and safety. The jury heard repeated inspections by the school’s inspectorate Ofsted and City of York Council had given it “good” or “outstanding” grades and none of their reports had raised concerns about the safety of its children.
The trial continues.