Thieves steal car that offers a lifeline to autistic Blackburn boy

Blackburn Citizen: Jonathan Westall and (inset) son Jack Jonathan Westall and (inset) son Jack

THE parents of a boy with severe autism are devastated after a thief stole their Motability car – which had been left defrosting on their driveway.

Father-of-two Jonathan Westall said the family’s £12,000 Vauxhall Zafira was taken from outside his Blackburn home when his wife Kimberley left the engine running while she popped back into the house.

He is now urging other motorists to be on their guard against opportunist thieves.

The Westalls, of Full View, Livesey, use the car to ferry around their nine-year-old son Jack, who attends Newfield Special School.

Because of his condition he finds it very difficult to adapt to change.

Mr Westall, an engineer, said: “When my wife told me the car had gone I thought she was having a laugh. It was literally left for just a few minutes.

“You cannot understand the mentality of people who do this. It’s been a setback for us and you would have thought that this was a quiet estate.

“I just want other people to be aware that this kind of thing can go on and to be on the lookout themselves.”

Jack attends a number of after-school clubs at Newfield and a car was essential for the family’s busy schedule, including medical appointments.

The couple, who also have a six-year-old daughter Leah said they now face a battle with insurers over the car, which was black and had a registration number of PO11 XAW.

The family’s trauma comes just as police issued a winter warning urging motorists not to leave their cars unattended when defrosting them during cold snaps.

Insp Simon Ingham, of the force’s vehicle crime team, said: “We know from previous years that some car thieves specifically target vehicles that they see sitting on driveways with the engines running.

“As soon as the owner goes inside the house, usually to finish getting ready for work, they take their chance and drive the car away.

“With the increase in vehicle security, this is the quickest and easiest way for a thief to steal your car.

“Many insurance companies may refuse to pay out if vehicles are stolen in this manner.”

People with any information about the Westall’s theft, which happened on Thursday morning, or any similar vehicle crime are asked to call police on the new non-emergency number, 101.

Comments (14)

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12:13pm Mon 3 Dec 12

me pete says...

If people have no jobs and see an easy way to make money they will take it.
People should be aware in this day and age that money is a problem for all.
Leaving an unattended car on the drive with the engine running is so stupid, You would not leave £11,000 on your drive unattended.....would you???
Sorry no sympathy here...
If people have no jobs and see an easy way to make money they will take it. People should be aware in this day and age that money is a problem for all. Leaving an unattended car on the drive with the engine running is so stupid, You would not leave £11,000 on your drive unattended.....would you??? Sorry no sympathy here... me pete

12:42pm Mon 3 Dec 12

LancsLass says...

Me pete you heartless idiot everybody does something silly in a moment of madness and if you don't or never have then give yourself a pat on the back you complete saint!! This family are going through enough upset without your silly comments it obviously was an accident a moment of not thinking maybe it can be quite hectic in a morning getting kids ready and trying to get to work and things give them a break.
I hope you get your car safely returned and with little or no damage kym and Johnny I know how much you need it to help out with Jack x
Me pete you heartless idiot everybody does something silly in a moment of madness and if you don't or never have then give yourself a pat on the back you complete saint!! This family are going through enough upset without your silly comments it obviously was an accident a moment of not thinking maybe it can be quite hectic in a morning getting kids ready and trying to get to work and things give them a break. I hope you get your car safely returned and with little or no damage kym and Johnny I know how much you need it to help out with Jack x LancsLass

1:15pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Tweeti says...

Me pete, Wat a horrible thing to say!!!! You sound abnormal and suspiouse.!!!!
Me pete, Wat a horrible thing to say!!!! You sound abnormal and suspiouse.!!!! Tweeti

2:17pm Mon 3 Dec 12

me pete says...

LancsLass wrote:
Me pete you heartless idiot everybody does something silly in a moment of madness and if you don't or never have then give yourself a pat on the back you complete saint!! This family are going through enough upset without your silly comments it obviously was an accident a moment of not thinking maybe it can be quite hectic in a morning getting kids ready and trying to get to work and things give them a break.
I hope you get your car safely returned and with little or no damage kym and Johnny I know how much you need it to help out with Jack x
Yes, people do something silly in a moment of madness............ like take cars!!! I was pointing out you dont leave cars running unattended with keys in especialy when it is published every year about this. My opinion and thats what i think...nothing to do with being heartless.
[quote][p][bold]LancsLass[/bold] wrote: Me pete you heartless idiot everybody does something silly in a moment of madness and if you don't or never have then give yourself a pat on the back you complete saint!! This family are going through enough upset without your silly comments it obviously was an accident a moment of not thinking maybe it can be quite hectic in a morning getting kids ready and trying to get to work and things give them a break. I hope you get your car safely returned and with little or no damage kym and Johnny I know how much you need it to help out with Jack x[/p][/quote]Yes, people do something silly in a moment of madness............ like take cars!!! I was pointing out you dont leave cars running unattended with keys in especialy when it is published every year about this. My opinion and thats what i think...nothing to do with being heartless. me pete

4:04pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Izanears says...

me pete wrote:
If people have no jobs and see an easy way to make money they will take it.
People should be aware in this day and age that money is a problem for all.
Leaving an unattended car on the drive with the engine running is so stupid, You would not leave £11,000 on your drive unattended.....would you???
Sorry no sympathy here...
Agree with me pete, disagree with tweeti. Every year there are dozens of reports of vehicles being stolen when left with their engines running to defrost, or while the driver has popped into a shop for ciggies, a newspaper, etc etc. Do people never read the newspapers or watch tele or listen to the radio?
[quote][p][bold]me pete[/bold] wrote: If people have no jobs and see an easy way to make money they will take it. People should be aware in this day and age that money is a problem for all. Leaving an unattended car on the drive with the engine running is so stupid, You would not leave £11,000 on your drive unattended.....would you??? Sorry no sympathy here...[/p][/quote]Agree with me pete, disagree with tweeti. Every year there are dozens of reports of vehicles being stolen when left with their engines running to defrost, or while the driver has popped into a shop for ciggies, a newspaper, etc etc. Do people never read the newspapers or watch tele or listen to the radio? Izanears

4:42pm Mon 3 Dec 12

mavrick says...

I have noticed a lack of condemnation for the slimy thief who did this. Perhaps I am wrong in thinking you have no right to steal other peoples property. I hope you get your car back undamaged and the thief punished.
I have noticed a lack of condemnation for the slimy thief who did this. Perhaps I am wrong in thinking you have no right to steal other peoples property. I hope you get your car back undamaged and the thief punished. mavrick

5:10pm Mon 3 Dec 12

George White Bread says...

me pete wrote:
If people have no jobs and see an easy way to make money they will take it.
People should be aware in this day and age that money is a problem for all.
Leaving an unattended car on the drive with the engine running is so stupid, You would not leave £11,000 on your drive unattended.....would you???
Sorry no sympathy here...
Tosser. I'd like to see if that was your opinion if it happened to one of your family members.
[quote][p][bold]me pete[/bold] wrote: If people have no jobs and see an easy way to make money they will take it. People should be aware in this day and age that money is a problem for all. Leaving an unattended car on the drive with the engine running is so stupid, You would not leave £11,000 on your drive unattended.....would you??? Sorry no sympathy here...[/p][/quote]Tosser. I'd like to see if that was your opinion if it happened to one of your family members. George White Bread

5:27pm Mon 3 Dec 12

woolywords says...

It the light of recent events, where a pedophile can get a Facebook page taken down and Leveson telling the media to be careful about being intrusive, am beginning to form the opinon that we shouldn't be condemning anyone at all. No more naming and shaming or exposes about how people conduct their lives, as they have Human Rights to back them, if they want to be career law breakers.
Obviously our Judiciary have already seen this coming by handing out those more lenient sentences that to you or I consider ludicrous.
If an MP can fiddle thousands and escape prosecution, why not apply the same to those caught fiddling the dole, sauce for the goose and all that.
Perhaps we should all start putting a notice our front doors, listing the contents with values, so that burglars can choose where to visit during their working hours. After all, they do have to get out of bed in the middle of the night, in fair or foul weather, to make the rounds and we don't want to be wasting their valuable time, do we?
So by leaving a nice warm car is quite considerate and shouldn't be punished by the law coming down hard on them for leaving a vehicle unattended with the engine running.
Or someone from the insurance company laughing down the phone when you say that you want to make a claim.
They like me and you have rights.
It the light of recent events, where a pedophile can get a Facebook page taken down and Leveson telling the media to be careful about being intrusive, am beginning to form the opinon that we shouldn't be condemning anyone at all. No more naming and shaming or exposes about how people conduct their lives, as they have Human Rights to back them, if they want to be career law breakers. Obviously our Judiciary have already seen this coming by handing out those more lenient sentences that to you or I consider ludicrous. If an MP can fiddle thousands and escape prosecution, why not apply the same to those caught fiddling the dole, sauce for the goose and all that. Perhaps we should all start putting a notice our front doors, listing the contents with values, so that burglars can choose where to visit during their working hours. After all, they do have to get out of bed in the middle of the night, in fair or foul weather, to make the rounds and we don't want to be wasting their valuable time, do we? So by leaving a nice warm car is quite considerate and shouldn't be punished by the law coming down hard on them for leaving a vehicle unattended with the engine running. Or someone from the insurance company laughing down the phone when you say that you want to make a claim. They like me and you have rights. woolywords

10:14pm Mon 3 Dec 12

Major Tom says...

And if the car had a mandatory 'black box' the car could've been disabled following a phone call to the authorities.
And if the car had a mandatory 'black box' the car could've been disabled following a phone call to the authorities. Major Tom

10:16pm Mon 3 Dec 12

JonnyLLLLLLLAD says...

Thanks to all of you who have bothered to leave a comment on this sad issue.
I appreciate the diversity of the opinions posted on this particular forum/thread.
However, if you are of the opinion that somehow the theft of our car is down to our own negligence, I endeavour to change your opinion with the actual events that led to such a situation.
The morning that the car was stolen from our drive was indeed a frosty one(The insurance companies will cling to this!). However, the fact that our car was frozen was an oblivious coincidence as we went to the car. As we are parents to an autistic child, his behaviour is unexpected to say the least and has its own problems along with an unforeseen set of predicaments that regular parents just won't understand...
Now as my wife dealt with the circumstances that Jack's condition bestowed on us that particular morning, the car was left running
and the fact that Jack chose that particular morning to have an unexplained autistic meltdown, for reasons unbeknownst to us, for us to have the ramifications so profound shouldn't be the issue here!
Neither should the actions of a mother acting immediately to the needs of their autistic child...(Distraction leaving the car running, where previously we've defrosted the car in the drive unattended, BUT it's locked manually with the spare key!!!)
Now the insurance people will no doubt blame us for negligence, when the blame should in fact lie at the door of the opportunist thief who is lacking morals and a decency that is a necessity in today's frought society. One such person who has the audacity to steal a car off someone's driveway?
Society and the criminal system are to ones to blame here for me..

No longer do we live in a society where we are free to leave our back door open!
Leave your door open, AND YOU'LL LOSE THE LOT!!!

Now, I ask you, is it Jack's fault for his anxious autistic melt down?

Is it the fault of my wife for leaving the car unattended whilst she sorted out our son's autistic needs?

OR, is it the fault of the opportunist thief who took our belongings (given to us so we can hope to have some semblance of a normal life!) what was not rightfully his, taken from our own private property , without though or remorse?!...

Why should we not be able to tend our children without the fear of someone taking our belongings from private property in the blink of an eye?

If it happened to you, you'd agree with me!
Thanks to all of you who have bothered to leave a comment on this sad issue. I appreciate the diversity of the opinions posted on this particular forum/thread. However, if you are of the opinion that somehow the theft of our car is down to our own negligence, I endeavour to change your opinion with the actual events that led to such a situation. The morning that the car was stolen from our drive was indeed a frosty one(The insurance companies will cling to this!). However, the fact that our car was frozen was an oblivious coincidence as we went to the car. As we are parents to an autistic child, his behaviour is unexpected to say the least and has its own problems along with an unforeseen set of predicaments that regular parents just won't understand... Now as my wife dealt with the circumstances that Jack's condition bestowed on us that particular morning, the car was left running and the fact that Jack chose that particular morning to have an unexplained autistic meltdown, for reasons unbeknownst to us, for us to have the ramifications so profound shouldn't be the issue here! Neither should the actions of a mother acting immediately to the needs of their autistic child...(Distraction leaving the car running, where previously we've defrosted the car in the drive unattended, BUT it's locked manually with the spare key!!!) Now the insurance people will no doubt blame us for negligence, when the blame should in fact lie at the door of the opportunist thief who is lacking morals and a decency that is a necessity in today's frought society. One such person who has the audacity to steal a car off someone's driveway? Society and the criminal system are to ones to blame here for me.. No longer do we live in a society where we are free to leave our back door open! Leave your door open, AND YOU'LL LOSE THE LOT!!! Now, I ask you, is it Jack's fault for his anxious autistic melt down? Is it the fault of my wife for leaving the car unattended whilst she sorted out our son's autistic needs? OR, is it the fault of the opportunist thief who took our belongings (given to us so we can hope to have some semblance of a normal life!) what was not rightfully his, taken from our own private property , without though or remorse?!... Why should we not be able to tend our children without the fear of someone taking our belongings from private property in the blink of an eye? If it happened to you, you'd agree with me! JonnyLLLLLLLAD

10:54pm Mon 3 Dec 12

dmcgoo says...

me pete wrote:
If people have no jobs and see an easy way to make money they will take it.
People should be aware in this day and age that money is a problem for all.
Leaving an unattended car on the drive with the engine running is so stupid, You would not leave £11,000 on your drive unattended.....would you???
Sorry no sympathy here...
It's ok having a pop at someone you don't know, the family this happened to are close friends of mine.
You do not understand the extent to which their attention, time, effort and love is directed towards their children, one of whom need much more care than you could possibly imagine.
To say you have no sympathy is ridiculous and clearly demonstrates one of societies bigger problems, not money, but apathy and the lack of respect for another persons property.
When you say you wouldn't leave £11000 on the drive unattended, I would argue that it normal circumstances, you would't use bundles of cash to take your child to School, nor would you need to defrost it. But perhaps that's just me being thick.
Anyone can pass judgement, but until you've walked in someone else's shoes, particularly in the case of this family, can I suggest you please keep your ill informed and lazy social commentary to yoursel
[quote][p][bold]me pete[/bold] wrote: If people have no jobs and see an easy way to make money they will take it. People should be aware in this day and age that money is a problem for all. Leaving an unattended car on the drive with the engine running is so stupid, You would not leave £11,000 on your drive unattended.....would you??? Sorry no sympathy here...[/p][/quote]It's ok having a pop at someone you don't know, the family this happened to are close friends of mine. You do not understand the extent to which their attention, time, effort and love is directed towards their children, one of whom need much more care than you could possibly imagine. To say you have no sympathy is ridiculous and clearly demonstrates one of societies bigger problems, not money, but apathy and the lack of respect for another persons property. When you say you wouldn't leave £11000 on the drive unattended, I would argue that it normal circumstances, you would't use bundles of cash to take your child to School, nor would you need to defrost it. But perhaps that's just me being thick. Anyone can pass judgement, but until you've walked in someone else's shoes, particularly in the case of this family, can I suggest you please keep your ill informed and lazy social commentary to yoursel dmcgoo

10:38am Tue 4 Dec 12

LancsLass says...

Well said JohnnyLLLLLLad and dmcgoo.
Nobody truely understands the scenarios you have to deal with on a day to day basis.
You and Kym are fantastic parents to Jack and Leah and I take my hat off to you not many people could hold down jobs and cope with the pressure that you two do your children are lovely kids and they are so because of your excellent parenting and the love of the extended family and friends you have too.
Ignore the ignorant peoples negative comments on here they obviously live the perfect lives with no distraction in them at all.
I truly hope the car is found or the insurance sort something out for you both I really do x
Well said JohnnyLLLLLLad and dmcgoo. Nobody truely understands the scenarios you have to deal with on a day to day basis. You and Kym are fantastic parents to Jack and Leah and I take my hat off to you not many people could hold down jobs and cope with the pressure that you two do your children are lovely kids and they are so because of your excellent parenting and the love of the extended family and friends you have too. Ignore the ignorant peoples negative comments on here they obviously live the perfect lives with no distraction in them at all. I truly hope the car is found or the insurance sort something out for you both I really do x LancsLass

5:35pm Tue 4 Dec 12

pwitch says...

We really need a 'like' button on here please :) so we can make a plint of agreeing with a comment.
We really need a 'like' button on here please :) so we can make a plint of agreeing with a comment. pwitch

8:02pm Wed 5 Dec 12

ste.g says...

JonnyLLLLLLLAD wrote:
Thanks to all of you who have bothered to leave a comment on this sad issue.
I appreciate the diversity of the opinions posted on this particular forum/thread.
However, if you are of the opinion that somehow the theft of our car is down to our own negligence, I endeavour to change your opinion with the actual events that led to such a situation.
The morning that the car was stolen from our drive was indeed a frosty one(The insurance companies will cling to this!). However, the fact that our car was frozen was an oblivious coincidence as we went to the car. As we are parents to an autistic child, his behaviour is unexpected to say the least and has its own problems along with an unforeseen set of predicaments that regular parents just won't understand...
Now as my wife dealt with the circumstances that Jack's condition bestowed on us that particular morning, the car was left running
and the fact that Jack chose that particular morning to have an unexplained autistic meltdown, for reasons unbeknownst to us, for us to have the ramifications so profound shouldn't be the issue here!
Neither should the actions of a mother acting immediately to the needs of their autistic child...(Distraction leaving the car running, where previously we've defrosted the car in the drive unattended, BUT it's locked manually with the spare key!!!)
Now the insurance people will no doubt blame us for negligence, when the blame should in fact lie at the door of the opportunist thief who is lacking morals and a decency that is a necessity in today's frought society. One such person who has the audacity to steal a car off someone's driveway?
Society and the criminal system are to ones to blame here for me..

No longer do we live in a society where we are free to leave our back door open!
Leave your door open, AND YOU'LL LOSE THE LOT!!!

Now, I ask you, is it Jack's fault for his anxious autistic melt down?

Is it the fault of my wife for leaving the car unattended whilst she sorted out our son's autistic needs?

OR, is it the fault of the opportunist thief who took our belongings (given to us so we can hope to have some semblance of a normal life!) what was not rightfully his, taken from our own private property , without though or remorse?!...

Why should we not be able to tend our children without the fear of someone taking our belongings from private property in the blink of an eye?

If it happened to you, you'd agree with me!
i sympathise with you but even under the sad circumstances your wife had to deal with, i cant help but feel leaving the car unattended was a bit wreckless.

No longer do we live in a society where we are free to leave our back door open! Leave your door open, AND YOU'LL LOSE THE LOT!!!

your own words.enough said i think
[quote][p][bold]JonnyLLLLLLLAD[/bold] wrote: Thanks to all of you who have bothered to leave a comment on this sad issue. I appreciate the diversity of the opinions posted on this particular forum/thread. However, if you are of the opinion that somehow the theft of our car is down to our own negligence, I endeavour to change your opinion with the actual events that led to such a situation. The morning that the car was stolen from our drive was indeed a frosty one(The insurance companies will cling to this!). However, the fact that our car was frozen was an oblivious coincidence as we went to the car. As we are parents to an autistic child, his behaviour is unexpected to say the least and has its own problems along with an unforeseen set of predicaments that regular parents just won't understand... Now as my wife dealt with the circumstances that Jack's condition bestowed on us that particular morning, the car was left running and the fact that Jack chose that particular morning to have an unexplained autistic meltdown, for reasons unbeknownst to us, for us to have the ramifications so profound shouldn't be the issue here! Neither should the actions of a mother acting immediately to the needs of their autistic child...(Distraction leaving the car running, where previously we've defrosted the car in the drive unattended, BUT it's locked manually with the spare key!!!) Now the insurance people will no doubt blame us for negligence, when the blame should in fact lie at the door of the opportunist thief who is lacking morals and a decency that is a necessity in today's frought society. One such person who has the audacity to steal a car off someone's driveway? Society and the criminal system are to ones to blame here for me.. No longer do we live in a society where we are free to leave our back door open! Leave your door open, AND YOU'LL LOSE THE LOT!!! Now, I ask you, is it Jack's fault for his anxious autistic melt down? Is it the fault of my wife for leaving the car unattended whilst she sorted out our son's autistic needs? OR, is it the fault of the opportunist thief who took our belongings (given to us so we can hope to have some semblance of a normal life!) what was not rightfully his, taken from our own private property , without though or remorse?!... Why should we not be able to tend our children without the fear of someone taking our belongings from private property in the blink of an eye? If it happened to you, you'd agree with me![/p][/quote]i sympathise with you but even under the sad circumstances your wife had to deal with, i cant help but feel leaving the car unattended was a bit wreckless. No longer do we live in a society where we are free to leave our back door open! Leave your door open, AND YOU'LL LOSE THE LOT!!! your own words.enough said i think ste.g

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