Bronson Battersby: How review of Skegness toddler's death will unfold

  • Video report by Amelia Beckett

Following the deaths of two-year-old Bronson Battersby and his father Kenneth, 60, various authorities are now conducting reviews into how it happened and whether there were opportunities to prevent the toddler's death.

The father and son were found at a house in Prince Alfred Avenue, in Skegness, Lincolnshire, on 9 January.

It is believed Mr Battersby suffered a fatal heart attack. Bronson is thought to have died from starvation and dehydration days after the death of his father.

Questions for police

Lincolnshire Police has said the deaths are not being treated as suspicious, but the force has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) over the incident.

The watchdog has confirmed it will investigate.

Questions are likely to focus on how the force responded when concerns were raised by social workers.

Because Bronson was under children’s services care, social workers visited the home on 2 January, but received no answer.

Two days later they tried again without success and police were called, but it took another five days before the bodies were discovered by the landlady and a social worker.

Bronson and Kenneth Battersby were found dead at this house in Skegness a week after a social worker first tried to make contact.

The IOPC's regional director Derrick Campbell said on Thursday: “The harrowing circumstances in which Kenneth and Bronson Battersby died are truly shocking.

"Our sympathies go out to everyone affected by their sad deaths.

“It is appropriate we carry out an independent investigation to consider the police response to any prior welfare concerns that were raised," he said.

"We will be examining whether there were any missed opportunities by police to check on Mr Battersby and Bronson sooner.

“We will be in contact with Bronson’s mother and Mr Battersby’s family in due course to explain our role and how our investigation will progress.”

Timeline of Events

27 December: Social worker's last contact with Kenneth Battersby

2 January: Scheduled visit by social worker has no response - police contacted

4 January: Follow-up visit by social worker still gets no response - police contacted again

9 January: Bodies found after social worker gains access to property through the landlady

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The role of social workers

Lincolnshire County Council has confirmed it is carrying out a "rapid review" of the case, after the repeated attempts by a social worker to see Bronson before he was found.

Heather Sandy, executive director for children’s services, said it was a "tragic" incident and that the council was supporting the family.

"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," she said.

The review is set to take 15 working days, but ITV News now understands the findings will not be published, instead being passed to a national panel to decide whether a more in-depth review is needed.

If it is decided to do so, the review could take up to a year to finish.

Independent safeguarding consultant Joanna Nicolas said there was a risk that the different agencies involved might try to blame each other.

"It's not uncommon for one agency to say 'I told the other', and the other agency to say 'I have nothing on record'," she said.

"We just don't know yet, but you would want those two agencies to have a discussion and then decide on the next course of action, because police - only police - can effect entry to a property in child protection cases.

"Social workers cannot do that."

Lincolnshire Police has said it would be "inappropriate" for it to comment further while review is ongoing.

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