I helped jail my killer brother – now I’m terrified he’ll come looking for me


The sister of a killer who slammed his car seat into a toddler has spoken of her terror after he was released early from jail.

Samantha Dawson gave evidence in court against her brother Stephen Waterson – who reversed his electronic car seat onto three-year-old Alfie Lamb as he sat at his mother’s feet in the footwell.

Samantha, 35, now fears for her own safety after her brother’s release.

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She has slammed the authorities for failing to notify her that he was getting out.

“Stephen should both be serving life in my opinion,” she says.

“He took a child’s life, and he should pay for it. In court, I gave evidence against him, and I knew I was taking a risk but I wanted to do the right thing.

“Imagine my horror when I read in the press this morning that he had been released early. I feel absolutely sick.

“The police and prison system didn’t even have the decency to let me know. I have no idea of ​​the terms of his license from him or if he is allowed to come near me.

Stephen Waterson

Single mum of five Samantha gave evidence at the trial of her brother Waterson and Alfie’s mum, Adrian Hoare.

Samantha says: “I am now living in fear, for myself and for my children. I worry that he will come looking for me.”

Waterson, then 26, was jailed for a manslaughter in November 2019 for seven and half years after rushing the toddler by reversing an electronic car seat into him in his Audi convertible.

Alfie was sitting at his mother’s feet in the footwell behind, The Mirror reports.

the child began crying and choking but his mother told him to “shut up” before Waterson put the seat forward again.

Stephen Waterson and Adrian Hoare with Alfie Lamb, on a shopping trip to Sutton on the day he died

By the time they arrived at Waterson’s home in Croydon, south London, Alfie had collapsed and stopped breathing.

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He died at St Thomas’ Hospital in South London from catastrophic brain damage on February 4, 2018, three days later.

Hoare was jailed for two years and nine months for child cruelty.

Waterson was not due for release until 2023.

But a Ministry of Justice spokesperson this week confirmed that Waterson had been “released under probation supervision after serving the prison part of his sentence.”

He could be returned back into jail if he breaches the “strict conditions he was under,” the spokesperson said.

Samantha, who is Stephen’s half-sister, shared a close bond with Alfie and is haunted by his death.

“Alfie was cute and I loved him. I felt we had a connection and I loved buying him treats,” she says.

“But his parents were rough with him, they would smack him and shout at him. He was well looked after in the way that he was well dressed and fed and clean. But he was not well loved.

“On one occasion, we were all in the car and Alfie was squashed in the foot-well. I was horrified. He actually said: ‘Mummy, I can’t move.’

Stephen Waterson (left) and Alfie Lamb with his mother Adrian Hoare

“I shouted at Stephen to move him. I didn’t know they did this as a routine – and that it would soon kill Alfie.

“When I heard Alfie was dead, my mind went back to the day in the car and I wished I had been more forceful – could I have saved him?”

Samantha, from Blackpool, and Stephen share the same mother and grew up in South London.

“I remember Stephen clearly; he was a little toddler and I used to love playing with him. I looked after him, because he was the baby,” Samantha says.

But the family was troubled and Samantha was in and out of foster care throughout her childhood. Stephen was eventually adopted into a new family and they lost contact.

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In 2010, Stephen made contact via Facebook.

She says: “He came to visit me and I was pleased to see him again; he was my brother. But I also thought he seemed nasty and aggressive and he wanted to borrow money.”

Stephen was a guest at Samantha’s wedding the following year.

She says: “He would visit me every now and again, always bringing a different girlfriend, often with a child. I enjoyed seeing him, but he was basically coming for a free holiday in Blackpool.

“I saw a side to him and I didn’t like it.

“He kept telling me how he was going for custody of the different kids he kept bringing – I told him to concentrate on his own family and not be so silly.

“To my mind, he wasn’t really fit to be looking after other kids.”

Three-and-a-half-year-old Alfie Lamb

Samantha’s step-uncle, Richard, had a relationship with Adrian Hoare, and they had Alfie together.

When their relationship ended, Hoare began a relationship with Stephen Waterson.

Samantha says: “It was complicated, but it meant that I had a close relationship with Alfie. He was a really cute little boy.

“I got on OK with his mum, Adrian, too. But I didn’t know her too well.

“Late in 2017, Stephen came up to Blackpool to see me – and this time he brought Adrian and Alfie with him. I was surprised to see they were together.

“Alfie was two-and-a-half and loved playing with some Minion toys I had.

“I felt I really had a connection with him.

“But Stephen and Adrian were both rough with him. They slapped him when he started crying. Once he threw his dummy on the floor so Stephen threw him on the couch. They swore at him.

“Adrian would say: ‘I will give you something to cry for.’

“I told Stephen that it was no way to treat a child and I was worried about him. Alfie appeared well looked after; he was clean, well-dressed, well-fed. But I did not feel he was loved.

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“On every visit, I tried to make sure I bought him a toy or gave him a little treat, because I loved him and I felt sorry for him.”

On one trip to London, to visit Stephen, six weeks before Alfie’s death, Samantha says Alfie was made to sit in the footwell of the car because there was no space on the seats.

Samantha says: “Alfie could not move, there was not enough room for him….the irony was, Alfie actually had a car seat but Stephen just shoved it in the boot.”

Alfie and Adrian Hoare

In February 2018, Samantha learned from family members that Alfie was dead.

She says: “I was devastated. When I heard that he had been squashed in the footwell, I was physically sick. My mind went back to the day in the car and I wished I had been more forceful – could I have saved him?”

Samantha contacted the police and was a prosecution witness at the trial.

Hoare and Waterson had admitted conspiring to pervert the course of justice by lying to the police. Hoare was found guilty of child cruelty.

Waterson was convicted of intimidating a witness and Hoare of assaulting another witness.

Waterson later admitted Alfie’s manslaughter by gross negligence.

Samantha says: “I took a big risk by turning against my own brother in court, but I knew I had to tell the truth. Now, I fear I will be made to pay the price.

“It is disgusting that the authorities did not let me know about his release. I have called the police to tell them of my concerns, but I haven’t yet been offered any protection or support.

“All of this brings back the memories of Alfie’s death and it is very hard. I think of that little boy every day.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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