Girl, five, found walking streets of York following disco

Laiyla Nelson.
Laiyla Nelson.
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WHEN FIVE-YEAR-OLD Laiyla Nelson set of to her first school disco she was looking forward to dancing with her friends.

However, what happened instead was she ended walking out of the school with no coat and was later found wandering the streets by another parent.

Her horrified mother, Emma Bootland, has hit out at bosses at her daughter’s school and teachers have apologised “unreservedly” for the oversight.

Laiyla was found by Daniel Cooper, the father of her schoolfriend Libby.

He found her wandering the streets of York, after the end-of-term disco hosted by primary school St Barnabas.

Ms Bootland had already set off to pick up her daughter when she got a call from Mr Cooper, who had come across cold and frightened Laiyla.

Laiyla had walked almost half of the 15-minute walk home, crossing at least two roads as evening began to fall.

She said: “I presumed he had picked her up with Libby, but he said: ‘I don’t think you understand, I found her on her own.

“Laiyla was in a right state. Everything was going through my head.

Ms Bootland added that Laiyla told her: “They let me out Mummy, they said it was home time.

“I was thinking the worst. I knew she was already safe with Daniel so I tried to calm down, but she could have had an accident.”

Despite teachers using a checklist to tick off the children leaving, Emma believes Laiyla had managed to just walk out without being noticed and started the 15-minute walk home by herself.

She added: “I think it’s disgusting that she was found on a street corner. She was nearly halfway home, she didn’t even have her coat on and was freezing. I don’t know how long she had been out there for, she couldn’t tell me.

“If your children aren’t safe at school, where are they safe?”

Head of St Barnabas’ Karen Boardman said the school had apologised “unreservedly” to Laiyla’s horrified parents, saying they were “relieved” no harm came to her.

“An incident like this has never happened at St Barnabas’s school before and in conjunction with our governors and staff we have put measures in place to reassure parents that this does not happen again.”

Ms Bootland, a customer service assistant, received a phonecall from her next door neighbour who said he had Laiyla.

She said: “My neighbour rang me and said ‘I’ve got Laiyla’ so my first thought was that he had picked her up with his daughter Libby.

“I was already walking to the school and started to thank him for getting her when he explained that he had found her walking on her own.

“My first thought was how? How was she walking on her own? How was she let out of school?

“All the thoughts of what might of happened started going through my head.”

Laiyla had already crossed two busy main roads before she was found on a corner just about to walk under a busy tunnel.

Ms Bootland’s neighbour had spotted the youngster and put her in the back of his car to keep her warm before ringing her mother immediately.

Ms Bootland, 23, added: “She had no coat on, she just had her little blouse and leggings that she had worn to the disco.

“When I got to her I asked her why she didn’t go in to the shop where the owners know her, but she said ‘you told me not to speak to strangers’.

“When I asked her why she had left the school she said ‘I saw other mummy and daddy’s and thought you would be there’.

“I went straight to the school and they hadn’t even realised she had gone.

“I was so upset. By this point Laiyla was in tears too.”