THE COUNCIL is throwing its financial weight behind a five-year battle for justice for a toddler who died while playing at nursery.

Two-year-old Rhiya Malin died after becoming trapped in a playhouse at Eton Manor Children's Nursery in Roding Lane, Chigwell, in November 2007.

Epping Forest District Council began proceedings over alleged breaches of health and safety legislation against the nursery and two employees in December, following a Crown Prosecution Service decision not to prosecute.

The council has so far spent £60,000 on the case and anticipates spending a further £40,000 by the beginning of the trial in January.

Councillors will meet on Monday December 3 to approve the sum.

Cllr John Knapman, who represents the Chigwell Village ward where Rhiya’s parents Jay and Shatl live, said he hoped they would soon be able to ‘draw a line under the issue’.

He said: “I think it’s really important that the court case represents a final resolution of the concerns of the council and the parents.

“It’s very, very important that we ensure our children in these sorts of schools are kept absolutely safe.”

Two women employed at Eton Manor at the time of Rhiya's death have denied breaching their general duty to the toddler.

The companies behind the nursery - Casterbridge Care and Education and Casterbridge Nurseries - admitted the charge in May.