Boy, 4, wanders half a mile after being left home alone


By Paul Thornton


A FOUR-YEAR-OLD boy crossed a busy dual-carriageway himself and wandered for over half a mile after he was left home alone.


The youngster was spotted by concerned drivers who stopped to check he was okay when they saw him walking down the side of a road.


Police were called, and when they returned with the boy to his home, they found an empty house and no responsible guardian.


After waiting for an hour-and-a-half, the woman meant to be looking after them – Marie Watson – showed up.


She claimed she had gone for “messages” and left the boy in the care of his big brother.


Yesterday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, Watson admitted child neglect over the incident on July 4 this year.


Fiscal depute Kate Mulligan told the court how a couple, who were driving on Silverknowes Road in Edinburgh, had pulled over after seeing the child walking alone at 2.30pm.


Miss Mulligan said that to get to where he was found on Silverknowes Road from the address where the boy had been he would have had to have crossed Muirhouse Parkway – a busy dual-carriageway with a 30mph speed limit.


The couple pulled over and flagged down another driver before asking the child if he was lost.


But the boy ignored them and continued walking until they contacted police and held on to him.


Despite his young age, he was able to show officers back to the flat where he was being looked after, saying that Watson was at work.


The police officers waited at the address, in the Muirhouse area of the capital, and at 4pm Watson showed up.


She told them that she had left the boy in the care of his eight-year-old brother and that she had explained to both boys that she was going to buy messages and would be back in an hour.


But the elder of the two boys was found playing with local children after being separated from his brother.


Sheriff Kenneth Maciver deferred sentence for reports and Watson will learn her fate next month.