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Review into social services after two-year-old’s death

The death of a two-year-old boy reported to have starved to death after his dad suffered a fatal heart attack has “shocked the nation”, the MP for the area has said.

Bronson Battersby was found curled up next to the body of his dad Kenneth, 60, who had died at the flat they shared in Prince Alfred Avenue, Skegness, Lincolnshire, The Sun newspaper reported.

A social worker from Lincolnshire County Council had tried on two occasions – 2 January and 4 January – to visit Mr Battersby and his son but got no answer, alerting Lincolnshire Police both times.

Days later on 9 January, the social worker was let into the property by the landlord, where Mr Battersby and his son were found dead.

Matt Warman, Conservative MP for Boston and Skegness, said the news of Bronson’s death has “saddened” many people, particularly in the seaside town where they lived, a place that has “immense community spirit”.

Authorities will now be wondering “what could have been done differently”, he said, as he urged those involved to conclude their investigations into Bronson’s death “as rapidly as possible”.

He said in a statement to the PA news agency: “The tragic news of the death of Bronson Battersby in Skegness has shocked the nation.

“No child, not least one already known to the authorities, should die as he did in this country in 2024.

“My thoughts are with his mother and his family at what I can only imagine is an impossibly difficult time.

“It appears that social services and the police were involved, but Bronson’s death, following his father Kenneth’s heart attack, should make everyone consider what could have been done differently.

“Lincolnshire County Council has launched a rapid review into social services’ performance and the police have referred themselves to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

“I know the social workers and officers involved will be deeply traumatised by what has happened after they repeatedly tried to make contact with Bronson and Kenneth.

“This tragedy also underlines the importance of neighbourhoods, Skegness is a place of immense community spirit, and I know how saddened many local people will be.

“I share that sadness, and have urged all those involved to make sure their investigations are concluded as rapidly as possible.”

Bronson’s mother, Sarah Piesse, 43, who did not live with him, told The Sun she was “haunted” by the vision of her little boy desperately searching for food or water after his father died.

She said: “Kenny moved all the snacks higher up so he couldn’t get to them without asking.

“Now all I can think of in my head is him, starving, reaching up and trying to get them. I can’t bear it.”

Lincolnshire County Council confirmed the social worker who tried to visit Mr Battersby and Bronson has not been suspended, but has taken time off following their “traumatic experience”.

Inquests into the deaths of Mr Battersby and Bronson have not yet been opened, Lincolnshire Coroner’s Court said this morning.

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