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Couple quizzed as police find baby girl dead in Scholes flat
A young couple remained in police custody today after the body of a four-month-old baby girl was discovered at the flat where they live in Scholes, near Cleckheaton.
The man, 21, and woman, 19, were arrested after officers were sent to their home in Foldings Avenue at about 5am yesterday when police were called by neighbours concerned about the baby’s safety.
The infant was pronounced dead at the scene.
The couple are believed to have lived in the first-floor flat for four to five months, with people in the area saying they kept themselves to themselves.
Neighbours in the quiet street, a mixture of flats and houses, told of their shock at news of the baby’s death, with some saying they had heard shouting and arguments at the flat in the past few days.
One claimed police had said the baby was covered in bruises, but added: “You cannot ring police every time a baby cries.”
The person, who did not want to be named, said the couple appeared to have had a “fall out” last Wednesday.
“Shouting was heard from the flat,” the witness added. “The baby was crying quite heavily. Both of them were heard shouting at the baby telling it to shut up.”
One man, who did not want to be named, said be believed social services had visited the flat “a few times”.
He added: “How has this happened? It is terrible.”
Karen Laycock, who lives next door to the first-floor flat where the baby was found, said: “I am very shocked that it should happen on our street, being as it is such a quiet neighbourhood.
“But we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. I never heard rows or shouting or anything.”
The 55-year-old said she was annoyed with herself that she had not made more of an effort with the baby’s mum, although she had had short conversations with the man, she knew as Danny.
She said: “I would see him hanging from the window having a cigarette. He was a very nice lad, an average down-to-earth 21-year-old.”
Miss Laycock said she had never seen the baby’s mum, saying: “I never saw her in the garden, or even putting out the bins.”
She added: “I think I should have asked her in for a cup of tea. I am annoyed with myself for not making more of a fuss and asking him where his lass was.
“If they were in trouble why not ask for help? We all know each other round here – we are all friendly people.”
Miss Laycock said police were on the scene from about 5am yesterday and that detectives had knocked on her door at about 5.30am as they started house-to-house inquiries.
She said forensics officers had been in and out of the flat all yesterday.
Another neighbour said: “I didn’t know them. I barely saw them. They kept themselves to themselves.”
West Yorkshire Police last night would not confirm whether a murder probe was under way.
A spokesman said: “Inquiries into the incident remain ongoing and a 19-year-old woman and 21-year-old man were arrested in connection with the incident and remain in custody.”