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Mum who left toddler in hot car for more than an hour to go shopping cleared of neglect

A woman who left her two-year-old son in the backseat of a hot car for more than an hour has been found not guilty of neglect.

The mother, 40, left the boy in the black Fiat 500 in Okehampton, Devon, so she could go clothes shopping and did not return until 70 minutes later.

By then police had smashed her car window and removed her son, who had been asleep, after concerned passers-by called them when they were unable to get him out themselves.

Mansbridge Balment, Okehampton

The location in Okehampton, Devon, where the boy was left in the car (Picture: Google)

Jonathan Mansell, who works as an estate agent nearby, told Exeter magistrates court: ‘The child was awake. He was definitely very hot.

‘His T-shirt was wet and there was sweat on his face. I could not tell if he had been crying. He was not in distress.’

PC Martin Evans echoed his words, adding when he arrived the child’s hair was plastered to his skull because he was sweating so much, Devon Live reports.

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Black fiat 500

The mum left her son in a black fiat 500 (not pictured) (Picture: Fiat)

Prosecutor Deborah Hodges added the conditions in the car would have likely to have caused the boy to suffer.

Temperatures had risen to 23C outside when the incident happened in July 2017.

CCTV showed the mother, from Croydon, south London, had left the car at 4.39pm.

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Exeter Magistrates Court

The mum was cleared at Exeter Magistrates Court (Picture: Google)

The woman, whose name is not being released to prevent identification of her son, told the court she had not intended to be away for so long.

She added: ‘I had absolutely no intention of leaving him in the car for 70 minutes.

‘I was completely unaware of the time. If he had been awake I would have taken him with me.

‘He conked out, he was absolutely shattered.

‘If there had been any sort of risk I simply would not have left him.’

The boy was taken to hospital but was uninjured.

The doctor did add he was at risk of heat stroke.

The mother was cleared of abandoning her child in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health but the jury did say she had taken a risk.

She had denied the charge.

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