Cumbria

Mother who left children in 40C car spared jail

  • 1 August 2011
  • From the section Cumbria

A mother who left her three children in a hot car for 45 minutes in Carlisle has been spared jail.

The children, aged between two and eight, raised the alarm by sounding the horn in temperatures as high as 40C (104F) on 4 July.

Kelly Marie Langham, 26, admitted three counts of neglect and possession of amphetamines.

She was ordered to complete a one-year community order under the supervision of Cumbria Action Social Support.

The order will focus on helping her develop better parenting skills, with a six month drug treatment order.

Chairman of the bench at Carlisle Magistrates' Court Sally Metcalfe Gibson also ordered Langham to pay £50 costs.

Ms Metcalfe Gibson said: "This was a serious offence but you are a person of good character with no previous convictions.

"You have had significant problems coping with the absence of your partner, three young children to care for, the lack of secure housing and your drug use."

When she was arrested, she told police she had earlier taken amphetamine.

Traumatised children

The court had heard how on the morning of 4 July Langham, who thought she would only be a few minutes, left the car in Chapel Street with the windows slightly wound down and went to a pawnbrokers in the city centre.

She told police she became delayed in a queue and returned 45 minutes later.

A member of the public phoned the police when he heard the car horn and investigated.

The children did not require hospital treatment but were left traumatised by the incident, police said.

Speaking outside the court, Det Insp Kim Fulton, from Cumbria Constabulary, said: "This case sends out a stark reminder that the interior of a car will get tremendously hot at this time of year.

"Kelly Langham made a serious error of judgment which today resulted in her receiving a community-based sentence.

She added: "Even with the windows slightly wound down, the temperature got dangerously hot, this and the fact that she left her children unattended for 40 minutes left them at risk of serious harm.

"Thankfully, the actions of a member of public prevented them from coming to more serious harm."

Last month the court was told that social services were now involved with the family but the children appeared to be healthy and happy.

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