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'It's obvious fatal mistakes were made and Lydia was not properly cared for'

Lydia Bishop.
Lydia Bishop. Credit: North Yorkshire Police

The parents of a three-year-old girl who died at a nursery in York said they were 'disappointed' that the nursery did not admit their failings until the jury reached its verdict.

Lydia Bishop choked to death on her first full day at the York College nursery when she became tangled in a rope on an outdoor slide in September 2012.

Nursery worker Sophee Redhead was cleared of manslaughter. York College was today fined £175,000 for health and safety breaches.

In a statement, Rebecca Dick and Brad Bishop said: "We have re-lived those last moments of Lydia’s life in grave detail and heard evidence over and over surrounding the events of that day.

"For the last 17 months we felt terribly let down that throughout the process, no-one had accepted any responsibility for what happened to Lydia, which has made it even harder to deal with.

"It is obvious that fatal mistakes were made, both on that day and in the weeks and months leading up to it, and that Lydia was not properly cared for.

"We are disappointed that it is not until the jury reached their verdict that the college have finally admitted their failings and we acknowledge that they have finally apologised through their statement to the press.

“Although nothing could ever compensate for our tragic loss, we anticipated a more substantial penalty would be imposed on York College.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank North Yorkshire Police and Robert Smith QC for their efforts in bringing the case to it’s conclusion.

"We feel that we have remained dignified throughout the last 17 months and respectfully request that the members of the press respect our privacy at this time.”

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Nursery worker cleared over toddler's death

A nursery worker wept in court today as she was dramatically cleared of the manslaughter of a three-year-old girl who died on her first day at the nursery.

Lydia Bishop got her neck caught in a rope on a slide at York College Nursery.

Sophee Redhead was today cleared of all charges against her.

York College was found guilty of health and safety failings and said it deeply regretted what happened.

Jon Hill reports.

York nursery worker cleared over toddler's death

A nursery worker has been cleared of all charges in relation to the death of a three-year-old girl who died on her first day at nursery after getting her neck caught in a rope on a slide.

25-year-old Sophee Redhead burst into tears today as she was found not guilty of the manslaughter of Lydia Bishop, at Leeds Crown Court.

Miss Redhead was also cleared of an alternative charge under health and safety legislation of failing to take "reasonable care" of the little girl.

A three-week trial has heard how Lydia died following the accident at an outdoor play area at the nursery at York College.

The jury today found the college guilty of health and safety breaches.

The judge, Mr Justice Coulson, said he would sentence the college next week.

College held responsible for York toddler's death

York College has been found guilty of health and safety failings which led to the death of a three-year-old girl at their on-site nursery.

Lydia Bishop died at the nursery on 17 September 2013, after a rope attached to a slide became entangled around her neck.

She was not discovered for 20 minutes and was later pronounced dead upon her arrival at York Hospital.

The rope was supposed to be removed at the end of every supervised play session, but the court heard that it had not been moved for two months.

The College was today found guilty of failing to ensure people not in their employment were not exposed to a risk to their health and safety.

Nursery worker Sophee Readhead was cleared of manslaughter by gross negligence and a further health and safety charge.

“This was an extremely tragic case for all concerned, not least for Lydia’s family who have been left devastated by the loss of their daughter.

“It is only right that a full investigation into her death was conducted to provide her family with some answers and to establish if there was a criminal case to answer.

“The court has found that York College as an organisation were in breach of their own health and safety procedures, which ultimately resulted in Lydia’s sad and untimely death.

“Unfortunately, it has taken the death of a three-year-old girl to expose the flaws in their health and safety practices and I hope this case serves as a warning to other organisations that it isn’t enough to just have a procedure written down.

“As we have seen in this case, health and safety is more than just a tick-box exercise, it is something which must be properly and strictly put into practice by all members of staff otherwise you are faced with a tragedy which could ultimately have been avoided.”

– Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Costello, of North Yorkshire Police
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Nursery statement over toddler's death

York College have issued a statement over the death of toddler, Lydia Bishop:

We deeply regret what happened and can't begin to imagine the pain experienced by Lydia's family and everyone affected by this terrible tragedy

The governing body and all at York College respect fully the legal judgements made in this case and remain committed to learning from this tragedy

– Alison Birkinshaw, Principal & Chief Executive, York College

The college took the decision to close the nursery immediately after the tragedy, and say it will not reopen.

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