Baby died a lonely slow death after parents' drug tragedy

An 18-month-old boy may have taken up to five days to perish of thirst after both his parents collapsed and died in their North Wales flat some time before Christmas.

Neighbours alerted by the dead woman's mother on Wednesday eventually forced their way into the flat, still adorned with festive decorations and unopened Christmas presents, to find the couple in their mid-twenties side-by-side with their son near by. Tests were still being carried out on the bodies yesterday to establish how they died but police said that "substances" - usually taken to mean drugs of some kind - had been taken away from the home in Rhyl.

Police visited the address twice, last Friday and Sunday, at the request of a relative, but received no reply and saw nothing that would have alerted them to the grim reality inside.

Many of the circumstances surrounding the deaths will become clearer today after the coroner has opened an inquest, though police were able to say that the couple, Tony and Elizabeth Walker, were last seen on 20 December, but had been dead for several weeks.

However, a source close to the inquiry said it appeared that the boy, Michael, died after his parents. A senior paediatrician estimated that he may have been conscious for 36 hours in a distressed state before lapsing into unconsciousness, coma and deathfrom dehydration, possibly as much as five days later.

The boy was discovered near the bodies of his father, a postman, and mother, who were in a kneeling position in the lounge of their first-floor flat above a hairdresser's salon.

Colleagues at Royal Mail's Rhyl delivery office, were Mr Walker had worked for slightly less than a year, said that he had last turned up for duty a few days before Christmas. Managers tried to contact him a number of times by mail, and eventually visited the flat, but were unable to get in because of the communal front door. Neighbours thought the family had gone south to visit relatives over Christmas.

David Edgington, a furniture store worker, who lives in the flat above, said Christmas decorations and the tree still adorned the lounge when he and the agent for the property broke in at the request of Mrs Walker's mother. A North Wales police spokesmanconfirmed that there was no evidence to suggest anyone else involved, though he said that only the tests would reveal if they had died accidentally, believed the more likely theory, or as a result of a suicide pact.

However, it is understood that officers had gone to the flat twice after calls from a relative in the South of England, asking if they could discover if the couple had moved from the address. After being told there was no reply, the relative went abroad on holiday.

Dr Donald Waite, Home Office pathologist, conducted post-mortem examinations at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, on Wednesday night, but the results of tests might take several days, police said. David Jones, the coroner, who will open the inquest at Prestatyn, said it "must be a possibility" that Michael died after his parents. "It is a dreadful situation if that is the case."

News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker