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School aide banned after boy chokes to death

Dan MacGuill · 5 Jul 2013, 15:53

Published: 05 Jul 2013 15:53 GMT+02:00

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The court at Saint-Brieux, western France sentenced the female nursery school assistant on Thursday to a suspended six-month sentence for manslaughter and banned her for life from practising her profession.

The court heard how on August 6th, 2012, the defendant gave two-year-old Christopher half a ‘chamallow’ sweet at the nursery in Plaintel, in the Côtes-d’Armor department of Brittany.

The toddler then wandered off and played on a nearby trampoline, before collapsing after having choked on the sweet.

Neither the nursery assistant or, later, emergency services were able to revive Christopher, who died of asphyxiation.

“For us, it’s her fault that our child is dead,” Christopher’s mother Viviane Herlem told French TV TF1 on Friday.

“He was under her care, she should have been keeping an eye on him. She should have been by his side, and she had no right to give him a sweet – we had already forbidden her to give him sweets,” she added.

The ‘chamallow’ brand of marshmallow is restricted to children over the age of three, according to instructions on the side of the packet.

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Christopher was aged two years and nine months at the time.

Prosecutors in the case had demanded a nine-month sentence for the nursery assistant, but the court reduced it to a suspended six-month sentence, while upholding the lifetime ban on working as a nursery assistant.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

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