15/04/2015 12:41 BST | Updated 15/06/2015 10:12 BST

'Death Trap' Cot Boss Convicted After Toddler Was Left Dangling By The Neck


A furniture boss has been given a suspended jail sentence after a 19-month-old girl was almost strangled by a 'death trap' cot.

In a chilling video played to a court, toddler Ophelia Conant can be seen dangling in mid air by her neck as she climbed out of the cot after her afternoon nap.

She was only saved when her mum Louise spotted her via a video monitor in her room.

Yesterday (Tues) Phillip Dickens, 38, the sole director of Oxfordshire-based Baumhaus Ltd - which imported the cots from China – appeared at Amersham Crown Court where he admitted placing an unsafe product on the market.

The court was told the cots were imported based solely on Chinese health and safety checks which were not up to British standards.

Judge Karen Holt told the court she didn't jail Dickens immediately as there was no intent to cause injury. However, as well as being given a suspended sentence, he was also fined £50,000.

She said: "(Miss Conant) Seeing her daughter on the baby video monitor screen hanging by her neck was, using her words, beyond description and completely traumatic to her.

"In her view, it is without doubt the fact she had a video monitor that saved her daughter's life.

"This is a serious offence because it came through your negligence.

"It could have caused the loss of life of babies.

"The product itself was dealing with the most vulnerable people in society, and I know that you accept that."

The court heard the company immediately tried to recall all 212 cots it had sold around the country when it was sent a copy of the video footage taken by Miss Conant by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards.

Buckinghamshire County Council's trading standards said a similar incident took place in Northamptonshire nine days later.

The council said investigations on the Nutkin cot-bed showed failures in testing.

A prototype designed in the UK had passed inspections, but the prosecution said the product was manufactured in China and the imported versions had different dimensions.

The prosecution said there was no proper quality control for the product in the UK.

The company had recalled 200 cot-beds, but it was unable to trace 12.

Judge Holt also awarded costs of £35,654 against Baumhaus and the two mothers were awarded compensation of £1,000 each.

The recall and dispute was believed to have cost the company, based at Upper Heyford near Bicester, about £350,000.

You can watch the clip of the video below.