A NORTH LONDON mother was left “screaming in panic” after an Uber private hire driver drove off with her seven month old daughter in the back of his car and did not realise for nearly an hour.
Nurse Elisabeth Katompa (31) had been visiting her mother in Enfield with her sister and daughter Olivia-Hope and booked a minicab to take her home.
They arrived at their house just after 11pm and Mrs Katompa and her sister got out of the car and walked around to the other side of the vehicle to unstrap the baby. But, the Uber driver drove off, seemingly unaware that the child was still inside the vehicle.
Mrs Katompa said: “My sister and I chased him down the road and he didn’t even know I was chasing him. We just couldn’t catch up with him.”
The two women called 999 immediately and Mrs Katompa added: “The panic that I was in, I was screaming and shouting. I called the police because it was the only thing I could think of.”
Mrs Katompa showed her Uber email receipt to officers when they arrived, which had the driver’s first name, but not the numberplate, and was told that without the car details the cab driver could not be tracked immediately.
The 31 year old nurse said: “I got so worried because you hear about things like this happening, when someone just takes a child and then you never see him again. I just wasn’t thinking straight and I didn’t know if he was aware that my daughter was still in his car. I didn’t know if he had done it on purpose and I didn’t know what to think.”
The Uber driver had in the meantime accepted another fare from a man who did not think to say anything about the sleeping baby in the back seat. Only when a second fare asked the driver about the child did he realise what had happened.
The Uber driver took the baby to Bishopsgate Police Station in the City of London and according to Mrs Katompa: “One of the officers on the radio said someone had just dropped a baby off at the police station and then blue-lighted us to the station. I was worried though that it wouldn’t be my baby.”
A spokesman for Uber said: “This is the first time such an incident has happened. We normally hear about drivers finding mobile phones or keys in the back seat of their car but never a sleeping baby. As soon as the driver and his passenger realised what had happened, they drove to the local police station to safely unite mum and baby.”
Officers responded to reports of a missing baby and made urgent enquiries to trace the vehicle. Just after 12:10am the driver attended a central London police station to report a baby in the back of his car. The baby was reunited with his mother.
No crime was recorded and Mrs Katompa said: “I’m still shaken up by it. I didn’t want to let go of my daughter even when I got home.”