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Couple arrested in murder probe after death of baby they were set to adopt
13 February 2021, 11:44 | Updated: 13 February 2021, 12:12
A man and woman have been arrested on suspicion of murder following the "tragic" death of a baby boy they were going to adopt.
The one-year-old child had been placed with his adoptive parents at the time of his death, however the court had not yet granted them a final adoption order.
A 37-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man, both from Barrow, were taken into custody on suspicion of murder and causing and allowing the death of a child, Cumbria Police said.
The pair were also held on suspicion of two counts of assault, ill-treatment, neglect, or abandoning a child or young person to cause unnecessary injury.
They have been released on bail while detectives investigate the circumstances of the death.
Detective Chief Superintendent Dean Holden, head of crime and safeguarding at Cumbria Constabulary, said: "Two people have been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into the tragic death of a one-year-old boy in Barrow.
"On 6 January, police received a report from NWAS (North West Ambulance Service) regarding an incident at a property in Barrow.
"The child was transferred to Alder Hey Children's Hospital from Furness General Hospital for specialist medical care due to his critical condition.
"Sadly, the young boy passed away on the afternoon of 7 January.
"An investigation is under way by a dedicated team of detectives and other specialists in order to establish the full circumstances of the death in full consultation with the coroner."
Children must live with their adoptive parents for a period before an application for an adoption order can be made, the Adoption and Children Act 2002 states.
When a child is placed with adopters they assume legal parental responsibility but the child remains "looked after" by the local authority until an order is granted.
John Readman, executive director of people at Cumbria County Council, said: "This is a deeply distressing case and our thoughts are with the little boy's family.
"We can confirm that he was looked after by the local authority and at the time of his death was placed with adoptive parents.
"The county council, as part of the Cumbria Safeguarding Children Partnership, has recommended that a full independent safeguarding review is carried out.
"A police investigation is also ongoing, and so we are unable to make any further comment at this stage."