The parents of a toddler discovered dead in his bedroom have been released after detectives found out that the death of the toddler was a tragic accident. They had been arrested earlier on suspicion of murder and child cruelty.
Police were called to a house in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, by ambulance staff who had responded to an emergency call to treat Harrison Pratt.
The boy’s parents, both aged 24 from the town, were later arrested on suspicion of murder and child cruelty and were named locally as Sam Upton and Nathan Pratt.
Neighbours said the couple had lived in the house in St Mary’s Avenue, on the Coates estate, for around 15 months with their children Caleb, four and Harrison, two.
One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said Miss Upton told her she had found her little boy ‘blue’ in his bedroom.
Detective Superintendent Neil Hunter, who is leading the investigation, said: ‘The death is currently being treated as unexplained and two people have been arrested in connection with the death.
‘We have been to the magistrates court and obtained a warrant of further detention of 32 hours for both detainees.
‘This will allow us to conduct further interviews and give us an opportunity to progress the investigation.
‘A post mortem examination has been completed and we are currently awaiting the results to determine the cause of death.’
Next door neighbour Patricia Pickering, who has lived in the street since 1989, said she was very shocked.
She said: ‘I was sat in my front room and I saw Nathan walking up and down outside. He looked as white as a sheet.
‘The ambulance arrived and I thought it must be something serious because there were so many police going in and out of the house.
‘Then Sam came outside with Nathan and I asked if everything was ok, but she just looked at me and said ‘Pat, Harrison has died in his sleep’.
‘I went to pieces and came back inside crying.
‘They were only playing outside in the garden the other day – they’re such a nice family.
‘When the house became empty I was worried about who would get it but I was relieved when they moved in because they are ideal neighbours.
‘I often see Sam taking Caleb to nursery and if I am outside the front door they always stop for a chat.
‘Harrison was always in his pushchair but he was quite forward for his age and always said hello.
‘I have never heard any screaming or shouting from them – they just seemed to be a really happy family. I am in total shock.’
Neighbours said Miss Upton and Mr Pratt come from Cowling and Bradford respectively.
Both are unemployed, although residents on the estate said Mr Pratt had been looking for work for around a year.
Sandra Gwinnett, who runs Phoenix Academy MMA, said she first met Miss Upton last year when members of her group were giving a demonstration in Barnoldswick.
She said: ‘She came and asked me about Caleb joining and I got to know her from there.
‘I introduced her to my friends and we organised a night out since then she has been to barbecues and things like that.
‘They are a really nice, close family. Caleb and Harrison are always smiling.
‘Sam and Nathan never really go out drinking unless it is to a barbecue and they can take the kids. Everything they do is for their children.
‘Sam is really quiet and polite, a bit on the shy side unless you know her. Even when you offer her a lift somewhere she says no or offers you petrol money.
‘Nathan is the same. He’s quite quiet as well but he doesn’t really have any friends around here.’
Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: ‘The couple and their two wee babies are lovely.
‘They are always doing things together. This has really shocked me. I can’t believe it.
‘I have lived here for 40 years and brought five kids up and never had a bit of bother. It’s a lovely area.’
It is understood the couple’s other son was last night being looked after by Miss Upton’s family.