Mum slams Havering Council for issuing parking ticket because of choking daughter, two

A young mum who was handed a parking fine after stopping to attend to her choking daughter has slammed her “disgusting” treatment by Havering Council and the London-wide parking appeals service.

“My child could have died,” said 25-year-old Vicki Pearson, who back in August stopped her car for a few minutes in Market Link, Romford, because two-year-old Mia was choking in the back seat.

Vicki, of Pilgrims Hatch, said she’d been on her way to Mothercare when the problem started.

“I pulled in, jumped into the passenger seat, unbuckled her and gave her some water,” she explained.

“It turned out there was no reason for her to be choking – but within that time frame, the CCTV camera car had come along.”

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Once she’d made sure Mia would be alright, she approached the driver in the camera car – who assured her that, if she contacted Havering, she could explain what had happened and have the fine struck out.

Vicki appealed as advised, but in October Havering ruled against her, saying they didn’t feel she’d had good reason to stop the car where she did.

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Indignant, Vicki took her case to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (Patas) in central London.

But to her amazement Patas didn’t believe she’d been checking on Mia in the back seat.

The adjudicator said Vicki’s story didn’t add up because CCTV footage showed her jumping into the passenger seat and reaching over, instead of getting out of the car.

Patas didn’t offer any alternative explanation of what Vicki might have been doing in the passenger seat but ruled against her all the same.

“I panicked,” said outraged Vicki. “It wasn’t a situation I sat there and thought about.”

Patas declined to comment.

Havering’s environment boss Cllr Barry Tebbutt said: “Our decision to refuse the appeal has been upheld by the independent adjudicator who, after reviewing the evidence, stated they didn’t accept the driver’s explanation as credible.”

Katrina Phillips, chief exec of kids’ charity Child Accident Prevention Trust, said it wasn’t surprising Vicki had reacted how she did.

“The terribly scary thing about childhood accidents is they are completely unpredictable and parents are often thrown into a panic,” she said. “A lot of people really don’t know what to do in those situations so the way Vicki reacted seems perfectly natural to me. Most people, faced with a child who’s choking, would first think: ‘I’ve got to stop and do something.’”

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