A three-year-old disabled boy was abandoned on a school bus in freezing temperatures for almost five-and-a-half hours after his carer 'forgot' he was there.
Mason Davidson-James was only discovered after a driver got in the bus to start his afternoon shift. The terrified youngster was found red-faced having cried himself to sleep.
His outraged mum told reporters: 'I was shocked and angry when I was told. I just don't know how it could have happened. Anything could have happened to Mason in all that time.
'It upsets me to think how scared he must have been. He can't speak but was probably crying out and no-one was there to hear him. When he got home his face was red and blotchy so he had obviously been crying for hours until he cried himself to sleep. He only woke up when the new driver started the engine and Mason started clapping his hands together.'
Rebekah, who is a single mum to four children, Mason, seven-year-old Malachi, Tamzin, six, and Tegan, five, told how she had waved her little boys off on the bus that morning, watching the 'carer' known only as Anne strap the kids in: 'I saw her put Mason and Malachi at the back and I always stay to watch the minibus leave.
'I like to wave goodbye to them through the window. It was the same as every morning. Anne gets off the bus when it arrives at the school. She must have rushed the kids off and simply forgotten about Mason. Mason was the escort's responsibility as soon as he crossed the threshold onto that bus and I trusted them to get him to school safely. I know her as Anne and my first reaction was to get hold of her and give her a slap. I cannot believe she was so careless. What person leaves a disabled boy on a bus on his own?'
Mason, who was born with microcephaly and autism which has left him unable to talk, takes the bus with his brother every morning from the family home in Wyken, Coventry to Castle Wood School two miles away. The schools head teacher Yvonne McCall said yesterday she was 'devastated' by the incident.
Coventry City Council has suspended the school escort and launched an investigation.