Bronson Battersby: Mum’s ‘living nightmare’ after Skegness boy found dead
The mother of a Lincolnshire toddler who was found dead next to his dad in their Skegness home says that she is “jolted awake” by the thought of him suffering. Sarah Priesse, the mum of Bronson Battersby, has said she is in a “living nightmare” following the tragic death of her son. Bronson, 2, died of starvation after his dad Kenneth, 60, died of a heart attack, leaving him alone in their home in Prince Alfred Avenue.
Ms Priesse, 43, told the Sun that young Bronson would have been just two inches short to reach the fridge door, which would have been packed with Christmas leftovers. She told the paper: “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.” She added: “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.” A social worker from Lincolnshire County Council had arranged a visit for January 2, but there had been no answer. The council made an unannounced visit on January 4 that also went unanswered, and their bodies were eventually discovered on January 9. Bronson was reportedly last seen alive on Boxing Day and is believed to have died of starvation and dehydration.
Kenneth, or Kenny as he was known, died of a heart attack. When she found out, Ms Priesse said she ran down the street screaming Bronson’s name. She told the Sun that her “whole world fell apart” when police told that a post-mortem was being conducted on a two-year-old boy found at the scene.
She added: “I knew there was no way that Kenny would let anything happen to Bronson. He would never lay a finger on him.” Ms Priesse and Kenneth shared a son, seven, and a three-year-old daughter.
They broke up in 2019 but maintained an on-off relationship. She last saw Bronson in November and was due to give him a Christmas present this month, though it remains wrapped up at home. Heather Sandy, executive director for children’s services at the county council, said the authority was reviewing what happened and called it a tragedy.
Lincolnshire Police has investigated the circumstances of their deaths and do not believe they were suspicious. A file has been prepared for the coroner. The force has referred itself to a watchdog over the matter.
A spokesperson for the Independent Office for Police Conduct said: “We can confirm that we have received a referral in relation to this matter from Lincolnshire Police and we are now assessing that to determine what further action is required from us.” Matt Warman, the MP for Skegness, said that no child should suffer as Bronson did. He said: “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.”