Toddler Bronson Battersby who was found dead next to his father's body died of dehydration, inquest hears

6 June 2024, 13:37 | Updated: 6 June 2024, 13:40

Bronson Battersby
Bronson Battersby. Picture: Facebook

By Emma Soteriou

Toddler Bronson Battersby, who was found dead alongside his father, died of dehydration, an inquest has heard.

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The two-year-old was found between the legs of his 60-year-old father, Kenneth Battersby, at a property in Prince Alfred Avenue, Skegness, on January 9.

An eight-minute hearing held at Greater Lincolnshire Coroner's Court on Thursday was told that their bodies were discovered after a neighbour called police.

In evidence to the hearing, a coroner's officer confirmed that Bronson's body was formally identified by a detective sergeant on January 15.

It was three days after a post-mortem examination carried out at Leicester Royal Infirmary, which confirmed his cause of death as dehydration.

Read more: Bronson Battersby's sister ‘does not blame social services’ after two-year-old boy found starved to death
Read more:
Police watchdog to investigate whether officers 'missed opportunities' over death of two-year-old Bronson Battersby

Bronson Battersby died of starvation and dehydration
Bronson Battersby died of starvation and dehydration. Picture: social media

Detective inspector Claire Rimmer, from the Lincolnshire Eastern Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit, also gave evidence to the hearing.

She said Bronson lived with his father, who had separated from the toddler's mother, in a basement flat.

The senior officer told Senior Coroner Paul Smith: "At 15.25 on January 9, police were called by a neighbour reporting concerns that she had not seen Kenneth Battersby for several days and there was a smell coming from the flat."

After a social worker and a landlady gained entry to the flat, Kenneth's body was found on the floor behind the living room door, preventing it from being opened further and leaving them "unaware that Bronson was also in the room".

Paramedics attended and the deaths of Kenneth and Bronson were confirmed at 4.31pm, the court heard.

The coroner was told that a malnourished dog was also found inside the property and the bath tub was found "filled with water".

Ms Rimmer added: "A final (pathologist's) report has given dehydration as the cause of (Bronson's) death."

Bronson Battersby
Bronson Battersby. Picture: social media

Adjourning the inquest to a provisional date of December 10, Mr Smith said he was awaiting reports from a number of agencies.

"I am satisfied that the circumstances of Bronson's death are such that an inquest will be required," he added.

"It clearly requires a thorough and sensitive investigation."

The police watchdog previously said it would look into whether there were any "missed opportunities" by officers prior to the deaths of Bronson and his father, who is believed to have died from natural causes.

Lincolnshire County Council said Bronson had been known to children's services and would typically be seen at least once a month by social workers.

In a statement issued shortly after the deaths, a spokesman for the county council confirmed a social worker communicated with Mr Battersby on December 27 and arranged to visit them on January 2.

However, there was no response when they arrived at the door.

The social worker "made inquiries at other addresses where the child could be" and contacted the police, before a second unannounced visit on January 4 also went unanswered, and Lincolnshire Police was contacted again.

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