Beds, Herts & Bucks

Woman with dementia left on bus overnight looked "shocked"

A woman with dementia who was left on a minibus overnight looked "shocked", a bus driver has told Luton Crown Court.

Joan Cook, 88, was discovered on the bus 14 hours after it had been parked at a depot in Luton in April last year.

Council driver Susan McLaughlin, of Brunel Road, Luton, denies neglect, contrary to Section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

A fellow driver, Ronald Clarke, said Mrs Cook looked "like she was waiting for someone to take her off the bus".

Ms McLaughlin had collected Mrs Cook from the Hockwell Ring Day Centre and should have dropped her off at a sheltered flat at the Jill Jenkins Court Care Home in Fairley Hill.

The court heard how Ms McLaughlin dropped another passenger off at a separate home but then drove straight to the depot in Kingsway, leaving Mrs Cook onboard at 16:45 BST.

Mr Clarke told the jury he was in his office when another employee came rushing in at around 07:15 the next day.

"He was shouting "'Lady on the bus, lady on the bus"," Mr Clarke said.

Mrs Cook was sitting on the second seat behind the driver's seat, Mr Clarke said.

"She just looked shocked."

Mr Clarke said he called Mrs Cook's sheltered accommodation and got the impression nobody had realised she was missing.

The trial continues.

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