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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Ryan Merrifield & Ellie Kemp

Archie Battersbee's family call for inquiry saying no parent must 'go through this again'

Archie Battersbee's family have called for an inquiry following his death, saying "no parent must go through this again". The 12-year-old's life support was switched off on Saturday morning at the Royal London Hospital months after he suffered a major brain injury.

Archie's parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, had fought a long-running legal battle over the withdrawal of treatment and in recent days made bids to the High Court, Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights to have him transferred to a hospice to die.

A last-ditch plea to the European Court of Human Rights to intervene in the case was rejected late on Friday (August 5), following a High Court ruling.

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The child had been in a coma since he was found unconscious by his mum in April and was being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments. The handling of his death on Saturday (August 6) was slammed by a family friend as "barbaric", as she described Archie's loved ones having to watch him "suffocate" and turn blue.

In a statement, released through the Christian Legal Centre, the family said: "We want something good to come out of this tragedy and the horrendous experience we have been put through by the system. No parent or family must go through this again.

Hollie Dance fought back the tears as she announced that Archie had died (PA)

"We have been forced to fight a relentless legal battle by the Hospital Trust while faced with an unimaginable tragedy. We were backed into a corner by the system, stripped of all our rights, and have had to fight for Archie’s real ‘best interests’ and right to live with everything stacked against us.

"This has now happened too often to parents who do not want their critically ill children to have life-support removed." They added that the "pressure of the process has been unbelievable".

"There must be an investigation and inquiry through the proper channels on what has happened to Archie, and we will be calling for change." In a High Court ruling on Friday morning, Mrs Justice Theis concluded it was not in Archie's best interests to be moved to a hospice and the Court of Appeal rejected permission to appeal that decision later the same day.

Christian Concern said the family had wanted to challenge the High Court ruling by arguing there had been a violation of articles six and eight of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article six is the right to a fair trial and article eight is the right to respect for private and family life.

A spokesman for the European court said it had received a request from representatives of Archie's parents under Rule 39, which allow it to apply "interim measures" in "exceptional" cases, and that the complaints "fell outside the scope" of that rule, and so it would not intervene.

Hollie Dance with her son Archie Battersbee in hospital. (PA Media)

The Court of Appeal judges said Mrs Justice Theis' ruling in the High Court dealt "comprehensively with each of the points raised on behalf of the parents". The judges said they had "reached the clear conclusion that each of her decisions was right for the reasons she gave".

It is believed Archie may have been taking part in the dangerous "blackout" social media craze, where people choke themselves until they pass out at the time of the accident.

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