Cause of death of toddler found next to his dead father in Skegness is released

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A two-year-old boy died of dehydration next to his dead father, an inquest has heard.

The cause of death of Bronson Kenneth Drake Battersby was revealed at the opening of his inquest at Lincoln Coroner's Court today.

Bronson was discovered at his home in Prince Alfred Avenue, Skegness, with his 60-year-old father, Kenneth Battersby on January 9.

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The toddler was found between the legs of his father, who had suffered a suspected heart attack, after a social worker and the landlady of their basement flat gained entry at 4.19pm.

Bronson and his father, Kenneth Battersby.Bronson and his father, Kenneth Battersby.
Bronson and his father, Kenneth Battersby.

Bronson appeared "quite malnourished" and there was evidence of pooling blood, the inquest heard.

Paramedics confirmed the deaths of Mr Battersby and Bronson in a call to the police at 4.31pm.

Detective Inspector Claire Rimmer of Lincolnshire Police outlined the circumstances of the initial investigation into Bronson's death in a statement to the inquest opening.

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Det Insp Rimmer told the hearing Bronson was living with his father in the basement flat after Mr Battersby separated from his mother in 2022.

The inquest heard Bronson's mother was living with two of his older siblings at another address in Skegness.

At 3.25pm on January 9 a neighbour called police to report they had not seen Mr Battersby for several days and there was a smell coming from the flat.

Entry to the flat proved difficult as Mr Battersby's body was blocking the living room door and it was not initially appreciated that Bronson was also inside.

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Det Insp Rimmer confirmed a "malnourished" but alive dog was also found in the property and the bath was full of water.

Bronson's cause of death was confirmed as dehydration following a final postmortem conducted by forensic pathologist Dr Frances Hollingbury at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

The senior coroner for Lincolnshire, Paul Smith, said he was satisfied Bronson's death required an inquest.

Mr Smith said he was aware that a number of agencies were involved in the investigation and he adjourned the full inquest to a provisional date of 10 December.

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An independent review into the death of Bronson and his dad will also be held by the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Partnership - involving Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Police and health organisations.

It will look at safeguarding improvements and how to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Chris Cook, independent chair of the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Partnership, said: "It's important we take time to explore fully the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident and identify any potential improvements we could make."

A rapid review was launched following the discovery of their bodies at a property in Prince Alfred Avenue.

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At the time, it was revealed the family was known to children's services and the local authority confirmed a social worker "had contact" with Mr Battersby on December 27 and had arranged a home visit for January 2.

But when that appointment was missed the police were contacted, the social worker also tried to make contact on January 4 and followed it up again five days later.

Mr Cook said the latest review is expected to take up to six months to complete but a report will not be made public until "any other related investigations, such as the potential inquest, are closed."

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