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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Abigail O'Leary & Antony Thrower

Archie Battersbee died in 'prank or experiment gone wrong' before life-support fight

Archie Battersbee died “inadvertently during a prank or experiment that went wrong”, a coroner has concluded.

The two-day inquest had been told Archie's mother, Hollie Dance, found her son unconscious with a ligature over his head at home in Southend, Essex, on April 7 last year.

Doctors later recommended his life support be switched off which his mother and father, Paul Battersbee, fought for several months before the ventilation was withdrawn on August 6.

Recording his death as an accident, senior coroner Lincoln Brookes said that although there was evidence of Archie experiencing low mood in the last 12 months of his life, there was no sign he intended to harm himself on the day he was injured.

Hollie Dance with her son Archie (PA)
Archie's father Paul Battersbee outside Essex Coroner's Court (PA)

Proceedings in Chelmsford had previously heard how his mother had found her son unresponsive by their staircase before running outside and screaming for help.

She had previously said he may have been taking part in an online challenge.

A coroner this afternoon confirmed it was his view he had died in an accident after earlier saying there was no evidence to took part in a challenge.

Essex senior coroner Lincoln Brookes said he was satisfied Archie "put his head in a noose or put a cord around his neck", but ruled out suicide.

Archie in hospital following the incident (PA)
Hollie with her son Archie (PA)

He added: "This was an accident that went wrong, either a prank to shock his mum as she came out of the bedroom to find him doing something shocking or reckless, or just experimenting to see what it was like to do this.

"I think he did so without necessarily a good reason, 12-year-old boys don't always have reasons. I think it may just be a case of curiosity - what does it feel like? It probably went wrong very quickly and very badly.

“It seems to me that while there were periods of low mood and very low mood during the previous 12 months , in the days preceding his death I haven't received any evidence of that.

"He was full of energy, he was very physical, he was at times very bored.

Hollie Dance attends a vigil at Priory Park in Southend-on-Sea in August last year (PA)

"He liked to shock those around him, perhaps even more so those he cared about.

"He liked to trick, he liked sometimes to carry out acts, or some might describe them as stunts, that would alarm people.

"You have given me an insight into this young man, what he had achieved and what he looked like he would achieve. You are quite right to be proud of this young man.

"Am I satisfied on the balance of probabilities that he intended [to take is own life] - the answer is no.

Hollie Dance said she was partly happy with the outcome of today's inquest (PA)

“It’s my view that this was an accident”.

Archie's mother had earlier told the inquest she was not sure if Archie had been trying the blackout challenge on April 7.

Speaking outside court Archie's mother said the inquest had given her 'some of the answers - but not all'.

She added: "I just want to thank the coroner, and police for all the work put in.

Archie's funeral was held in September 2022 (PA)

"I'm partly happy with how the investigation went today.

"It's time to allow us as a family to grieve."

She added she wanted Archie to be remembered as "fun-loving, energetic and talented."

The coroner recorded Archie's medical cause of death as catastrophic hypoxic ischemic brain injury, secondary to strangulation.

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