WHEN the social worker and landlady entered the property in Skegness on January 9, it must have been a terrible sight. There were two bodies, a father and son. The father, Kenneth Battersby, 60, had died of a heart attack and the son, two-year-old Bronson, had slowly starved to death over the Christmas holidays. The child was curled up and clinging to his father’s leg.
Because this is Britain in 2024, land of health and safety, land of the welfare state, land of the NHS, somehow a two-year-old can starve to death during the ‘most wonderful time of the year.’
Not to be left out, thieves broke into the flat a day or two later and stole Battersby’s wallet and painkillers. Of course they did. Battersby’s boxer dog, Skylar, survived, and was found in the kitchen.
This is what we know of Bronson’s family background. According to the Sunday Times he was the youngest of three children born to Battersby, 60, and Sarah Piesse, 43. The eldest is seven, the middle sibling three. The couple met in 2013 after Battersby, a plumber and handyman who had two grown-up children from a previous marriage, moved to Skegness from his native Sheffield.
Piesse, who comes from Nottingham and describes herself as a ‘full-time mummy’ on social media, is said by officials and friends to live a chaotic life. Some reports claim she has seven further children from other relationships.
Of course, as all family forms are equal, no judgment must be made ever on any sexual behaviour of adults, as they must have self-fulfilment even to the neglect of the needs of children.
Four separate sources told the Sunday Times that her abuse of alcohol and drugs gave cause for concern. She was forced to leave at least one home in Skegness because of rent arrears. When approached on Friday, she swore and shouted: ‘Leave me alone.’
The ST continues: ‘At the time of Bronson’s birth, in autumn 2021, the whole family was living in Battersby’s rented basement flat on Prince Alfred Avenue, a street full of bedsits and holiday apartments, yards from the seafront. However, the couple had a fractious relationship and Piesse moved out with the three children.
‘Bronson returned to live with his father about six months ago, according to Piesse. She told the Sun that her new flat was unsafe for the toddler because of a high staircase without a banister — although one associate of the couple said that the child had been moved because Piesse was “struggling to cope”.’
Bronson and his father were last seen alive on Boxing Day. According to Sky TV: ‘A neighbour said she had last seen Bronson and his father on Boxing Day on their way to the shops in town. She said they had waved and had big smiles.’
The next afternoon the neighbour sent a text message to Mr Battersby to check on him as she was worried about his health. A minute later, she received a reply saying: ‘Thank you both for caring about me and Bronson means the world to us it really does.’
A social worker spoke to Mr Battersby the same day, December 27, and arranged to visit on January 2. Bronson would normally be visited at least once a month, according to the council.
A social worker called to the house on January 2 but received no answer. She contacted the police and other houses about Bronson. She called again on January 4 and received no answer. She alerted the police.
Bronson’s mum said she was contacted by social workers and asked if she had received any messages from Mr Battersby, adding that she was given no indication that anything was seriously wrong.
Eventually the social worker was given access to the property by the owner, and entered on January 9. The police never called to the property.
Bronson’s mother has been critical of the social worker’s conduct. ‘They can’t let them get away with this,’ Ms Piesse told the Sun. ‘We have to be able to rely on social workers to keep our children safe.’
Sure. It is much easier to blame social workers for your son’s death than look in the mirror, especially as you had not seen your two-year-old since November because you had an argument with your ex-partner.
We have also been told that a tenant in the flat above heard a child crying ‘Daddy’ in the early hours of New Year’s Day but did not check on her neighbours.
So, over the 12 days of Christmas when we were munching Quality Street and watching Netflix, two-year-old Branson Battersby starved to death, because of social workers or something.
Perhaps it’s because no one in his family took responsibility to look in on the two-year-old and a clearly vulnerable father. It’s all the social workers’ fault, it’s the fault of the police, it is the fault of everyone but those most responsible for this child – his family.
There was no uncle to say, Let’s take the little guy out for a walk. No aunt who said, I think I’ll watch a Disney movie with Branson.
One can only imagine the bewilderment and darkness that fell on Bronson as he wandered about that flat day after day on his own. Why isn’t dad moving? What’s that knock on the door? I’m feeling hungry. I’m feeling very hungry. Why hasn’t anyone changed my nappy (which after a few days must have been disgusting)? Nothing happened. No one came. And the end so quiet, so lonely and so dark.
Bronson Battersby, who was about a month younger than my little boy, should not have starved to death. But as we live in a society that no longer demands duty and sacrifice from mothers, because we live in an atomised, lonely society where people think the state should do everything for them, he did.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.