Mum’s terror as Thomas (4) goes missing

A grateful mum has praised police for their swift response after her four-year-old son went missing from his Burnley home.

Friday, 18th April 2014, 9:00 am
HAPPY TO BE HOME: Emma Barker holds her son, Thomas, four, after he wondered off from his home sparking a police search - he was found safe after 20-minutes.

Mrs Emma Barker dialled 999 when little Thomas vanished from Clockhouse Grove as they prepared to set off for an afternoon at Towneley Park last Saturday afternoon.

Mrs Barker, who works as a legal executive at Burnley Council, said: “Thomas said he would wait outside while I gathered my things together and locked the door. It took literally a minute but when I stepped outside I couldn’t see him so I called his name but there was just silence.

“I just panicked and truly believed he had been snatched because it was so out of character for Thomas to wander off so I rang the police immediately.’’

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A patrol car was on the scene within minutes as the frantic search for Thomas began.

Mrs Barker said: “The police told me to stay at the house in case Thomas came back but I felt so helpless, I wanted to be out there looking for him.’’

As officers scoured the area for the little boy he was spotted close to a football pitch in Underley Street, a 10 minute walk away from his home. Thomas believed he was meeting his big sister, Sophie, (six) there along with his dad, Kristian, but they had gone to watch Burnley play at Turf Moor.

Mrs Barker added: “Thomas knows the play area well and he thought his dad and sister would be there and that I was following him. He got upset when the police approached him because he thought he was going to be arrested.’’

After the family were reunited Mrs Barker thanked the police for their “fantastic’’ response.

She told the Express: “Everyone involved was marvellous, from the 999 operator who was calm and reassuring to the officers who found Thomas so quickly.

“I cannot thank them enough for what they did, it was an horrendous experience. I won’t be taking my eyes off Thomas in the future now.’’