Boss of Sheffield bed firm jailed after death of baby

The boss of a Sheffield firm which designed and sold a cot in which a baby boy died has been jailed for over three years.

Craig Williams, aged 37, who ran Sheffield-based Playtime Beds Ltd, designed and sold a cot in which seven-month-old Oscar Abbey choked to death after getting his head trapped in a gap at the side of the cot during an incident in York in 2016.

Craig Williams has been jailed

Craig Williams has been jailed

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Williams had been charged with gross negligence manslaughter but the jury was instructed to deliver a ‘not guilty’ verdict by the judge who oversaw his trial.

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He pleaded guilty to failing to discharge an employer's general duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act and he also admitted fraud.

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During a hearing at Leeds Crown Court today he was jailed for three years and four months.

Williams, of Park View Road, Kimberworth, Rotherham, had been contacted by a customer a few months before Oscar’s death, who was concerned that a bed she bought did not meet standards.

The customer was told by Williams that he had been in touch with Trading Standards and they are happy with his products.

But it emerged that Trading Standards officers had no record of any contact with Williams.

After the death, Williams’ set another firm up but named employee Joseph Bruce, 30, of Kimberworth Park Road, Rotherham, as the owner.

Bruce admitted fraud before Williams stood trial and was jailed for six months.

Williams wiped away a tear as he was told the length of his sentence today.

Judge Martin Spencer told Williams that he had a ‘significant responsibility’ for Oscar's death, adding: "You should bear the brunt of that responsibility for the rest of your life."

He said Williams would ‘almost certainly’ have been guilty of manslaughter had another child passed away in a cot sold following Oscar's death.

He said: "It is pure fortune that no other child did die, and that is no thanks to you or Mr Bruce."

The judge added that Williams had shown a ‘fragrant disregard’ for the public in his failure to adhere to safety regulations.