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Daily Record
Daily Record
Sarah Vesty & Adam May

Archie Battersbee’s life support to be turned off at 10am today as family spends 'precious time' at bedside

Tragic Archie Battersbee’s life support will be switched off in hospital at 10am on Saturday after his devoted parents lost a long-running court battle with all legal routes now "exhausted". Campaign group Christian Concern announced that his loved ones had been told tonight that the 12-year-old's life-supporting treatment would end - before the European Court of Human Rights then said it will not intervene in the case.

The latest developments come after Archie's family lost their latest legal bid to have him transferred from hospital to a hospice to die before announcing they intended to continue their efforts at the ECHR, the Mirror reports.

Parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, who are separated but both live in Southend, Essex, applied to the Court of Appeal today after losing a High Court bid to have him moved to a hospice before his life-sustaining treatment is withdrawn.

The Court of Appeal confirmed shortly after 6.30pm that permission to appeal had been refused. Christian Concern then announced the boy's family had been told his life-sustaining treatment will be withdrawn from 10am on Saturday.

In response, Barts Health NHS Trust said its position remained the same in that no changes will be made to Archie's care "until the outstanding legal issues are resolved".

His parents had fought a long-running legal battle over the withdrawal of treatment, which ultimately failed on Wednesday when the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene in that initial battle. Their focus then shifted to trying to get their son moved to a hospice but, in a ruling at the High Court this morning, Mrs Justice Theis concluded it was not in Archie's best interests to be moved.

And the ECHR has now refused to intervene in that fight, too. A spokesman 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 where it "considers that the applicant faces a real risk of serious, irreversible harm if the measure is not applied".

The parents of Archie Battersbee, Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance (PA)

But the statement added: "The submissions did not appear to contain an explicit request for the Court to take a specific action under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. In relation to the Convention complaints under Articles 6 and 8, as they related to the request to transfer of Archie Battersbee into hospice care for his withdrawal of treatment, the President of the Court decided that these complaints fell outside the scope of Rule 39."

Earlier today, High Court judge Mrs Justice Theis said the lad's best interests "must remain at the core of any conclusions reached by this court". She went on: "When considering the wishes of the family, why those wishes are held, the facilities at the hospice, what Archie is likely to have wanted ... the risks involved in a transfer ... and the increasing fragility of his medical condition, I am satisfied that when looking at the balancing exercise again his best interests remain as set out (in the ruling of July 15), that he should remain at the hospital when treatment is withdrawn.

"The circumstances outlined by Dr F of the physical arrangements at the hospital and the arrangements that can be made will ensure that Archie's best interest will remain the focus of the final arrangements to enable him peacefully and privately to die in the embrace of the family he loved. The parents in the email from their solicitors on August 2 confirmed, in principle, their willingness to co-operate in these arrangements."

Doctor's say the 12-year-old is brain stem dead (PA)

Mrs Justice Theis concluded her judgement by saying: "I return to where I started, recognising the enormity of what lays ahead for Archie's parents and the family. Their unconditional love and dedication to Archie is a golden thread that runs through this case.

"I hope now Archie can be afforded the opportunity for him to die in peaceful circumstances, with the family who meant so much to him as he clearly does to them."

Following the ruling, Ms Dance, who feels a hospice would allow for Archie to have a more private and dignified death, said: "All our wishes as a family have been denied by the authorities. We are broken, but we are keeping going, because we love Archie and refuse to give up on him."

The judge refused permission to appeal against her High Court ruling, after lawyers for the family requested it. Later, a spokesperson for the judiciary confirmed that the Court of Appeal had received an application from Archie's family for permission to appeal.

Mrs Justice Theis granted a stay on the withdrawal of treatment until 2pm today to allow time for an appeal to be lodged. But the Court of Appeal confirmed shortly after 6.30pm this evening that permission to appeal had been refused.

The boy has been in a coma since he was found unconscious by his mother in April and is being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments, at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.

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