‘RIP little un’ – community rallies after baby’s death

Tributes left at the flat where Kayleigh-Mai's body was found.
Tributes left at the flat where Kayleigh-Mai's body was found.

Neighbours in Foldings Avenue reacted with shock this week following the death of four-month-old Kayleigh-Mai Sheard.

Pink balloons, flowers, messages and teddies have been tied to the hedge outside the flat in Scholes where she lived with her parents, Lucy Damen, 19, and Daniel Sheard, 21.

The couple were arrested early on Monday after police were called over concerns for the welfare of a baby.

Paramedics found Kayleigh-Mai and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Her parents appeared in court in Huddersfield yesterday charged with manslaughter and familial homicide.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said her partner had seen police at the house at about 5.30am on Monday, and officers had been there ever since.

She said: “I don’t think many people knew them. You never really saw them.

“I’ve only seen them a few times walking up to Cleckheaton. He was pushing the pram. I said hello but didn’t get anything back from them.

“Quite a few of the neighbours didn’t even know they had a child.

“There are lots of rumours going round but you don’t know what’s true and what’s not. Everyone is shocked. It pulls on your heartstrings when you hear it’s happened miles away, never mind on your own doorstep.”

Another woman, who also did not want to be named, said: “They were just normal people, like everybody else.

“I have only spoken to them when they moved in about four months ago; I said hello.

“They just kept themselves to themselves.”

She said people had been leaving flowers and teddies as tributes since Monday morning, even people who didn’t know the family.

She added: “It’s a close community. It’s a big shock to all of us. You don’t expect it.”

Sheard and Damen appeared before Kirklees magistrates yesterday.

Robert Campbell, prosecuting, said the charges related to between September 26 and October 1 this year.

He told the bench that Kayleigh-Mai Sheard’s body was found by paramedics at her home in Scholes on Monday.

He said police enquiries were continuing.

Both wearing dark sweatshirts and trousers, the parents spoke only to confirm their names, address and dates of birth. Relatives and police attended the hearing.

The case was transferred by district judge Marie Mallon to Leeds Crown Court for a hearing on October 17.

The defendants were remanded in custody.