A two-year-old boy was left to die alone from starvation, curled up next to his dead father, his family has revealed.
Bronson Battersby’s body was reportedly found with his father Kenneth's in their home in Skegness, Lincolnshire, on January 9.
Mr Battersby, who suffered from a heart condition which had caused severe jaundice in the past few months, is believed to have died from a heart attack no earlier than December 29.
A social worker went to visit the house on January 2, in one of the weekly visits Bronson received because he was classed as vulnerable, according to The Sun.
But there was no answer, so she made enquiries at other addresses and called police, according to Lincolnshire County Council.
The worker tried a second time on January 4, and called the police when there was again no response.
Five days later, she arranged a key from the property’s landlord and made the horrific discovery.
“They found Bronson curled up at his dad’s legs – he was left in the dark and must have been terrified and so confused,” a family friend told The Sun.
Lincolnshire Police said it had referred itself to the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which is assessing what action to take.
Heartbreaking footage has emerged of Bronson celebrating his first birthday with a Teletubbies cake as his mother Sarah Piesse sung Happy Birthday.
Ms Piesse presented him with the cake in front of a room full of young children and adults as he was surrounded by balloons in 2022.
Ms Piesse blew out the candle for him and leads the group in chanting "hip hip hooray".
Following Bronson's death, Ms Piesse, 43, said: “If social services had done their job Bronson would still be alive. But they didn’t do anything.
“I can’t believe it. They can’t let them get away with this. We have to be able to rely on social workers to keep our children safe.”
The last time Ms Piesse, a mother of three, saw Bronson was before Christmas, after she had an argument with her ex.
Mr Battersby and his son were last seen on Boxing Day, when a neighbour went to go visit.
The next day, the father sent a text message saying: “Thanks so much for caring, it means the world to me and Bronson.”
A neighbour believes she heard Bronson calling out for "daddy" in the early hours of New Years Day, MailOnline reported on Wednesday evening.
The landlady of the property, Maria Clifton Plaice, told MailOnline: "One of the tenants living above Kenny reported to us at the weekend that she heard Bronson crying out for his father early on New Year's Day.
"She said she heard a little boy repeatedly say "daddy" as if he was trying to wake him up. This was around 4am.
"There was also a crashing of pots and pans in the kitchen around the same time. We think that may have been Skylar the dog rummaging for food.
"The tenant didn't hear anything after that."
According to the initial post-mortem examination, Bronson died from dehydration and starvation. It ruled out carbon monoxide poisoning.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday said: "I can't let today pass without saying how saddened I was by the tragic death of Bronson Battersby, aged just two, who died in heartbreaking circumstances."
A family friend told The Sun: “It breaks my heart. Bronson deserved so, so much better.
"He was such a loving, adorable little boy. They found him curled up at Kenneth’s legs. He was left in the dark and must have been terrified and so confused. He must have thought his dad was just asleep or something.
"He was just gorgeous. He was always smiling and so loving. He always wanted a cuddle. He was like any toddler. He loved anything that made a noise.”
Lincolnshire County Council has launched a review into the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.
The social worker has not been suspended but has reportedly taken voluntary time off.
Confrming it had referred itself to the IOPC, Lincolnshire Police said in a statement: "The exact actions of organisations involved will be analysed in a forthcoming review and at this stage it would be inappropriate to comment further.
"As part of standard procedures we have referred this to the IOPC as a result of a death or serious injury following police involvement."
The IOPC confirmed it had received a referral and is "assessing that to determine what further action is required from us".
Conservative MP for Boston and Skegness, Matt Warman, said: "It's a horrific thing to read about...It underlines genuine failures by the authorities that we've got to work out how that happened and what went wrong. The broader problem here, though, is also one about a sort of much more human story of checking in on your neighbours and all of that.
"Some of it is a straightforward systemic failure that we've got to tackle. Some of it is also, as I say, a much more human story. And those shouldn't be separated. We shouldn't pretend that they're not connected.
"There were obvious huge risks that people should have been alive to...It's a systemic thing as much as an individual thing..It's not just about social workers. It's about communities and neighbours and it's about working out when is an appropriate time to sort of check whether that person you know might not be is okay."
The executive director for children's services Heather Sandy said: “This was a tragic incident, and we are supporting the family at this difficult time.
“We are 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.”
Lincolnshire Police said: “Police were made aware of the deaths of a 60-year-old man and a two-year-old child at a property in Skegness, at around 3.25pm on January 9.
“Investigations have been carried out and the deaths are not being treated as suspicious.”