BIRMINGHAM: The mother and great-uncle of a boy who is thought to have frozen to death outside his home have been pictured for the first time.
Laura Heath, 35, and Timothy Busk, 56, were arrested and released after seven-year-old Hakeem Hussain was declared dead at the property in Birmingham on Sunday.
The schoolboy is believed to have been outdoors for some time and had reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest.
It is thought he succumbed to hypothermia in freezing temperatures, although that was not confirmed last night. His mother was named locally as Ms Heath.
She is understood to have been living with her uncle, Mr Busk, who neighbours said they saw being taken away by police on Sunday morning.
He was arrested on suspicion of wilfully ill-treating a child while she was questioned on suspicion of wilful neglect. Both have been released under investigation while inquiries continue.
A post-mortem examination is due to take place today.
The boy’s aunt Aroosa Kausar said: ‘Hakeem had such a bright future. He was such a sweet boy and very playful. His death has torn our family apart.
‘His father is absolutely devastated and already misses him greatly.
‘All we have left are memories of him, but we will hold him dearly in our hearts. His laugh will stay with us forever.’ She said she did not know how Hakeem – who suffered from asthma – had died, adding: ‘We don’t know anything about him dying of hypothermia.
‘He did suffer from asthma. I saw the mum the other night, but I don’t really want to say anything about that.
‘She was just really, really upset and heartbroken. She does not wish to speak in person at the moment.
‘She’s uncomfortable about speaking. She has people accusing her of all sorts when she is mourning her son’s death.’
Police said they could not speculate on the cause of death. A neighbour said the seven-year-old had moved into the property in the Nechells area with his mother only two weeks ago.
She said: ‘It’s such tragic news. He was only a young boy with brown hair and he was lovely and playful. He seemed very happy and healthy.
‘I saw him leaving the house a couple of times with his mum. She was our neighbour’s niece and had only moved in two weeks ago.
‘They seemed lovely, quiet people but would always help us out if we knocked on the door and asked.
‘I had just been woken up by an ambulance arriving. I knew instantly something bad had happened but this is so tragic.’
Hakeem attended nearby Nechells Primary Academy, where pupils have been offered counselling.
Head Julie Wright wrote to parents in the wake of the death. She said: ‘This loss to our academy community is sure to raise many emotions and concerns for our staff and pupils.