Friday 30 September 2016

Lawyer 'cautioned after leaving baby daughter alone in car for an hour while he went shopping'

Alex Keenan is said to have left the one-year-old for an hour while he went into Tesco

Victoria Ward

Published 10/12/2015 | 11:58

Solicitor Alex Keenan accepted a caution under the Children and Young Persons Act but was not formally charged
Solicitor Alex Keenan accepted a caution under the Children and Young Persons Act but was not formally charged

A lawyer who left his baby daughter alone in a car outside a supermarket for an hour has been cautioned by police, according to reports.

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Alex Keenan, 30, is said to have left the one-year-old unattended while he went shopping in Tesco with his three-year-old son.

A passer-by heard the tot "screaming her head off " and alerted police, according to the Daily Mirror.

As officers arrived on the scene, Keenan, a tax specialist, returned to his vehicle.

He was arrested on suspicion of child neglect and accepted a caution under the Children and Young Persons Act but was not formally charged.

CCTV allegedly showed that Keenan, from New Leake, Lincs, had been away from the car for an hour.

 His wife, Katherine, is said to have been called to take the children home from the Skegness store while officers took her husband to a nearby station for questioning after the incident on Sunday.

The 30-year-old described his arrest as "a bit disproportionate."

A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: "We were notified by a member of the public who said the child was screaming her head off in the car.

"As the officers arrived the father was coming back to the vehicle so they didn’t need to force entry."

Last year, Tim Haines, a family law advocate, told how his decision to leave his two-year-old daughter alone in the car for 10 minutes almost led to his children being taken into care.

He was arrested and prosecuted for “wilful exposure of a child to risk of significant harm” after leaving the toddler while he nipped to a nearby shop to buy Calpol.

He spent a “nightmare year” fighting to clear his name.

“We won, but we came within a hair’s breadth of losing our children,” his wife Julie, 50, a teacher, said.

The law does not specify an age when it is safe to leave a child alone but it is an offence to do so if it puts them at risk.

The NSPCC warns that babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone and that children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long time.

A spokesman said: "A car may seem secure but it's very easy for a young child to get tangled in seat restraints, become unwell, or for someone to steal the vehicle or abduct them from it."

Keenan, an associate at agriculture specialists Roythornes Solicitors, said: "My employers are aware of what happened. I can't make any further comment."

Telegraph.co.uk

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