Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Children in car woman may face jail

A woman could face a prison sentence after leaving her three children in a car during intense heat

A mother has been warned she may face jail after she admitted leaving her three young children in a car in "dangerously high heat".

The youngsters, aged between two and eight, were left for 45 minutes in temperatures of 40C (104F) inside the vehicle.

Kelly Marie Langham, 26, of Carlisle, told magistrates she thought she would only be away for a few minutes as she popped to a city centre shop. She left the car windows slightly wound down but said she did not appreciate that the heat could rise to the extent it did.

A member of the public phoned the police when he heard the repeated sounding of a car horn in Chapel Street, Carlisle, from about 10.40am last Monday and went to investigate.

Pam Ward, prosecuting, said: "The witness said he saw two young children in the small saloon car, together with a baby that was strapped in a seat. The baby was crying, red in the face and distressed. He said the vehicle must have been parked up for 45 minutes."

A police constable arrived at the scene and shortly after saw Langham running to the car. Carlisle Magistrates' Court heard that Langham explained to the officer that she had been to the Cash Converter store in Lowther Street - out of sight of the vehicle - and been been stuck in a queue.

She was arrested and when interviewed stated that she had earlier taken amphetamine at her home. Langham went on to explain she had become dependent on the drug on a daily basis.

Her solicitor, Claire Kirkpatrick, explained to the court that her client did not intend to leave her children in the car for so long in "dangerously high heat".

Langham pleaded guilty to three counts of wilful child neglect or ill-treatment and also possession of amphetamine. The case was adjourned until August 1 for pre-sentence reports but magistrates told her they would not rule out custody at this stage.

The children did not require hospital treatment but were left traumatised after being removed from the car, a police spokesman said last week.

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