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Wales Online
Wales Online
Sam Russell, PA & Lorna Hughes

Archie Battersbee's mother hits back at trolls after being accused of birthday 'party' at son's grave

The mother of Archie Battersbee has hit back at trolls after being accused of having a birthday 'party' at his graveside. She said she has received a barrage of online abuse since since May, weeks before 12-year-old Archie’s life support was withdrawn on August 6.

Hollie Dance said she has been subjected to “very severe trolling”, including death threats, and said that a noose was left on her son’s grave. Archie's life support was withdrawn after his parents failed in bids to overturn a High Court ruling that doctors could lawfully do so.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Ms Dance said the trolling was “absolutely awful”. She said: "It’s been like it from mid-May. The police have been investigating since mid-May so we’re hoping a case is building now.

“They are on it. We’ve got over 10,000 screenshots of some of the vile comments and accusations.”

She said much of the abuse was on social media, but there was also a “noose put on his grave” and “hanging ropes on the vigil tree”. Ms Dance added: “I’ve had two death threats. My son’s been threatened. It’s just constant, every single day."

She said that people had complained to Southend Borough Council after she was at his graveside on her birthday on Friday, with a gazebo up.

She said: "The fact they’ve now rung the council, the cemetery, they’ve said we’ve had this gazebo up and we’re partying, we’re playing music, eating, drinking, making it sound really quite bad. It sounds so bad and it’s not the case.

“The gazebo, small gazebo was put up because rain was forecast on my birthday. Everybody that’s worried about me at the minute knows where I’m going to be because I’m here obviously daily with Arch.

“They were just doing something nice, a few of them have come and sat with me. Asked permission from the people in Archie’s row.

“There’s literally six graves here, asked permission, ‘does anybody else mind?’, everybody was more than OK with it. One of the ladies whose daughter is here as well, she actually came and sat with her Starbucks coffee, that’s the drink they’re referring to.

"Another lady came over and brought me some chocolates and said ‘my heart goes out to you today Hollie, your birthday, I knew you would be here with Archie, where else would you be’. That’s the food they’re referring to.

“It was bucketing it down at 3pm so we sat under a gazebo then the gazebo was taken down. It’s like I’m not allowed to grieve, whatever I do."

Judges were told Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head at home in Southend in Essex on April 7. She thinks he may have been taking part in an online challenge, and he suffered brain damage.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, thought he was brain-stem dead and said continued life-support treatment was not in his best interests. His funeral was held earlier this month.

Cllr Martin Terry, cabinet member for public protection for Southend Borough Council, said: “We understand that people will always grieve in different ways when they lose a loved one. We would remind all families with loved ones in the cemetery of the conditions of when they purchased the plot, and to remind them that the cemetery is a public space that many people use to visit their loved ones, and as such we want to ensure that it remains respectful for all."

Essex Police have been approached for comment.

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