Mentally ill man ‘left alone in freezing car’

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Police are investigating a case of possible neglect after a mentally ill man was locked in a car in Northampton for than an hour in freezing temperatures.

The 57-year-old man was left in Cowley Close, Wootton, by a professional carer who was believed to have been visiting his own family, on Sunday afternoon, when temperatures did not get above zero.

Resident Doreen Waite called 999 after spotting the car had been parked 90 minutes earlier and had steamed up windows.

She said: “I thought it was a child so I went to have a look.

“But it wasn’t a child it was an adult and they were frantic. There was no heating on and they were scratching the sides of the windows in panic.”

Police, seeing he was “in some distress”, searched the estate for the vehicle’s driver so they could free the patient.

But the carer returned just as an ambulance crew arrived at the scene. Mrs Waite said: “The police said later they tore a strip off him and I hope they did. You wouldn’t even leave a dog in those conditions.”

The ambulance service said they were called by police who reported “a person trapped in a car, who was conscious and breathing, but not alert”.

The call was not immediately life-threatening and needed a response within 30 minutes, but a vehicle arrived on scene in six minutes.

After 10 minutes of treatment the patient was taken home.