Baby found in drugs flat died of thirst

An 18-month-old boy perished from dehydration after his parents collapsed and died, apparently from the effects of drugs, an inquest was told yesterday.

The tragedy is thought to have happened before Christmas as neighbours who forced their way into the flat in Rhyl, Clwyd, on Wednesday found the bodies in the lounge, where presents were unopened and decorations in place.

Tests on the body of the boy, Michael Walker, who appeared to have been playing with toys, showed that he had died from dehydration through lack of care and neglect. But the post- mortem examinations on Tony Walker, 28, and his wife, Elizabeth, 23, were inconclusive.

The Home Office pathologist, Dr Donald Waite, has asked for further forensic tests to help him determine the cause of the deaths of Mr Walker, a postman, and his wife.

However, Det Sgt Philip Welsh told the inquest that there was evidence of drug abuse at the first-floor flat above a hairdresser's salon.

"The bodies were in some state of putrefaction and decay, and there was evidence at the scene of probable drug abuse," he told the inquest at Prestatyn. "Syringes were scattered about the floor and there were powders and items we would usually associate with the drugs scene." He also said that the flat, which was visited last Friday and Sunday by police who found nothing untoward, was locked from the inside, lending weight to the theory that no one else was involved in the deaths.

"There was no sign of violence to any of the three bodies involved and we are not looking for any other person in connection with this," he said. "There were a few small items out of place. I can only assume that the child had been playing with some items. There were a few toys on the floor."

David Jones, the coroner, adjourned the inquest to await a further police report on the outcome of forensic tests.

The townspeople of Rhyl, a fading seaside resort of grand Victorian houses, were shocked that the deaths could have gone undetected for so long.

Joan Butterfield, a councillor, said the local authority had long recognised the problem caused by the division of large properties into flats and bedsits, which gave rise to a highly transient population.

"Where there is a predominance of flats we have a moving populace very similar to the kind you find in a university town. In this situation people are less likely to know their neighbours. Perhaps this is reflection of the way we live. People are less neighbourly," she said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power