Man in court for leaving screaming children locked in sweltering car

A man left two children screaming for help in a locked searing hot car, a court has heard.

Wednesday, 16th May 2018, 4:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th May 2018, 4:40 pm
Andrew Yorkston parked his car in a lay-by and left two youngsters in the back seat for around 30 minutes in blistering conditions.

Andrew Yorkston parked his car in a lay-by and left the two youngsters in the back seat for around 30 minutes in hot conditions.

The six-year-old girl and two-year-old boy were trapped in the locked vehicle and were only rescued after passers-by heard the traumatised girl screaming “Help - please save us”.

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The worried Samaritans contacted the police and waited by the car to calm the kids where Yorkston eventually appeared claiming he had “only been (away) five minutes” and had been relieving himself.

The 27-year-old then drove away from the lay-by leaving the police to launch a hunt for him and the two children.

On Tuesday, Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard Yorkston was in charge of the children when he was taking them to a nearby McDonalds and stopped off unexpectedly at the lay-by near to Prestonpans on August 16 last year.

Fiscal depute Mark Keane told the court the two-year-old boy and the six-year-old girl were spotted locked in the car at around 5.30pm.

Mr Keane said: “Witnesses were out for a walk and they observed a stationary car in the lay-by and saw two children within the car who very distressed.

“The six-year-old was shouting ‘help - save us’.

She told one of the men her brother was also in the car. He asked where her parents were and she pointed to an opening in the trees and said the man (looking after her) was down there.”

The fiscal added “the car was locked and the windows were fully up” and it was “a hot day”.

“The witnesses became concerned about the children’s welfare and decided to phone the police and stay with the car for about 25 minutes.”

Solicitor Lesley Cunningham, defending, said Yorkston, from Prestonpans, East Lothian, had stopped for a toilet break and his wife had been left “suitably unimpressed” by his actions.

Ms Cunningham said her client had “an underlying drug problem” at the time of the incident which was “now resolved”.

The brief added: “Mr Yorkston was taking the children to a McDonalds and stopped by the side of the road for the toilet. He admits now this was foolish in the extreme.

“Fortunately there was no harm down to the children.”

Sheriff Adrian Cottam deferred sentence to next month for a social work update on the welfare of the children.

Yorkston admitted to being responsible for two children and wilfully abandoning them by leaving them alone within a locked vehicle while windows were fully closed in hot weather conditions at a lay-by on the B1361 near to Prestonpans on August 16 last year.

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