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Wait to quiz toddler death mother

Police have issued a photograph of a toddler whose mother was suspected of strangling him before walking into a police station with him over her shoulder.

Melanie Ruddell, 39, has yet to be questioned by detectives after she carried lifeless two-year-old Christy into Peterlee police station, in County Durham, on Monday morning.

His death was confirmed later at Sunderland Royal Hospital and she was arrested on suspicion of murder.

The photo shows a brown-eyed, blond-haired boy seemingly talking happily.

His family told police he was a healthy child, "vivacious", who was doted on by his mother so much she could hardly bear to leave him with a baby-sitter.

She has been treated in a secure hospital since Monday and will only be questioned once medics deem she is well enough.

Mrs Ruddell, whose marriage to husband Alan was ending in divorce, called police with a serious allegation on Saturday which was investigated.

For legal reasons, the nature of the allegation cannot be revealed, but her report was quickly said to have been deemed a fantasy.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was called in to investigate whether Durham Police's handling of the case should be the subject of an inquiry.

A spokeswoman for the police watchdog said: "The Independent Police Complaints Commission has received a referral from Durham Police regarding the death of a two-year-old boy who was carried into Peterlee police station by his mother. An IPCC investigator has been deployed to carry out an assessment and a decision on the level of IPCC involvement will be made in due course."


From Belfast Telegraph