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Bronson Battersby was just a few centimetres too short to reach the fridge, an act that would have most likely saved the toddler from starvation. The two-year-old and his father were both found deceased in a UK flat on 9 January. The tragic event has left Bronson’s mum broken and questioning why social services did not find her son sooner.
Bronson was clutching his father’s legs, 14 days after the pair were last seen alive. Preliminary tests suggest that the little boy died of dehydration and starvation after being most likely left to fend for himself for two weeks.
Too short to reach for food
While there was plenty of food in the fridge, Bronson was just a bit too short to reach, a fact that will haunt Bronson’s mum forever.
Mum Sarah Piesse, 43, who didn’t live with Kenny or Bronson at the time, shares the absolute heartbreak of losing her “cheeky gorgeous boy”.
“I know the two of them had a big Christmas dinner together. They had all the trimmings and chicken instead of turkey, because Bronson liked chicken.
All the food would have still been in the fridge. If only Bronson was a little bit taller, then he would have survived. The fridge would have been packed with Christmas leftovers.
He was about two inches off being able to reach the fridge to open it. His last moments were spent alone and he must have been so thirsty and hungry. He will have been crying. He will have been so confused. And Kenny was there on the floor. I can only pray he thought his dad was asleep.”
Toddler dies of starvation after father dies of heart attack
Bronson, who lived with his dad Kenny, had a lovely Christmas with his dad. However, on Boxing Day, Kenny suffered a fatal heart attack, leaving his son alone.
It wasn’t until 9 January that the pair were found, both decreased, with Bronson curled up holding his father’s legs. Sarah explains how the thought of her boy being alone, hungry, confused and thirsty has been too much to bear.
As she explains, Kenny had just recently moved the snacks into a higher cupboard to prevent Bronson from snacking.
“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.
It is haunting me. If I can fall asleep at all, it is only for a few hours. I jolt awake thinking of him wandering around alone, starving.
He must have been so weak in the end that he decided to give up and hold on to his dad, hugging his legs. I will never forgive myself for not being there.
When I picture him alone in that flat it makes me feel like a failure, cruel, selfish. That little boy was sitting there wanting a drink, wanting something to eat. It breaks my heart even more.”
Unbreakable bond between father and son
While Sarah and Kenny, 60 didn’t live together, they share three children. Bronson, two and a daughter, three and son, seven. The couple split in 2019 but have an on-off relationship.
They came to the mutual decision that Bronson would live full-time with Kenny when Sarah moved into a new flat six months ago. Kenny and Bronson had a special bond and Sarah knew Kenny “adored” their son.
Sarah also explains that the home was unsafe for the boy because of a high staircase without a banister.
“Kenny and Bronson always had a bond, so it made sense when I got the new flat for Bronson to stay with him. I knew there was no way that Kenny would let anything happen to Bronson. He would never lay a finger on him.”
Sarah last saw Bronson in November and was meant to see him in January to give him his Christmas present, which remains still wrapped up at home.
She recalls saying her goodbyes to her son in the hospital morgue.
“I’ve been to see him, but I wasn’t allowed to hold him. I cuddled him, kissed him, told him I loved him.
He was too fragile for me to hold because it had been so long. All I wanted to do was hold him. My boy — I just want to see his smile all the time.”
As Sarah comes to terms with losing her son to starvation, she hopes that something like this never happens to any other parent.
“No other mother should have to go through what I have been through.”
Bodies found several days after alarm raised
Through the grief, Sarah is questioning why the alarm wasn’t raised sooner. As Sarah explains, social services were aware of the family’s situation and were meant to be checking in on Bronson and Kenny.
Social services were involved, so I knew they were around and they were checking in.”
According to reports, social workers did visit the property on 2 January and again two days later but there was no answer. Social services contacted police both times, but there was another five-day gap before Bronson and Kenneth’s bodies were finally found on January 9.
“I want to know why did they not gain access on the first visit? That would have saved him.”
There is now an investigation into why Bronson was not found earlier. Lincolnshire County Council has said the social worker involved in Bronson’s case has not been suspended, but it is understood they have voluntarily taken time off.
Our hearts break for Sarah and her children as they come to terms with this devastating loss.
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