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Police referred to watchdog over Bronson Battersby, 2, who starved to death

Review of actions of authorities set to take place as boy reportedly found weeks after last seen alive

Tara Cobham
Wednesday 17 January 2024 16:08 GMT
Starmer ‘saddened’ by two-year-old Bronson Battersby’s death

A police force has been referred to an independent watchdog over two-year-old Bronson Battersby who reportedly starved to death after being left for days.

The toddler was found two weeks after he was said to have last been seen alive by a neighbour in Skegness, Lincolnshire on Boxing Day.

His father Kenneth, 60, died of a heart attack allegedly shortly after 26 December, while the toddler had been left in the dark with no food or water for days.

Lincolnshire County Council told The Independent social services spoke with Kenneth on 27 December to organise a visit to the home on 2 January. After receiving no response that day, the council said the social worker contacted police and made an unannounced visit two days later, after which they again contacted police.

However, it was another five days before the father’s and son’s bodies were found on 9 January, after the council said the social worker was forced to get access from the landlord to enter the property themselves.

Preliminary tests reportedly found that Bronson, who was under children’s services care, had died of dehydration and starvation.

Lincolnshire Police said it has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct over the incident. A spokesperson for the watchdog confirmed that it is now assessing the referral to determine further action.

The force said the exact actions of all organisations involved will be analysed in a forthcoming review, while the council said it has launched a rapid review of the case.

Lincolnshire Police said: “The exact actions of organisations involved will be analysed in a forthcoming review and at this stage it would be inappropriate to comment further.

“As part of standard procedures we have referred this to the IOPC as a result of a death or serious injury following police involvement.”

A spokesperson for the Independent Office for Police Conduct said: “We can confirm that we have received a referral in relation to this matter from Lincolnshire Police and we are now assessing that to determine what further action is required from us.”

Heather Sandy, executive director for children’s services at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “This was a tragic incident, and we are supporting the family at this difficult time.

“We are currently carrying out a review of the case alongside partner agencies to better understand the circumstances, and we await the results of the coroner’s investigations as well.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those involved.”

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