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Daily Record
Daily Record
Alahna Kindred & Hannah Mackenzie Wood

Archie Battersbee's mum faces backlash over 'birthday party' held at son's grave

Archie Battersbee's mum has hit back after facing criticism for having a "party" at his grave. Hollie Dance had put up a gazebo at her son's headstone so she could spend her birthday there on Friday.

Archie became the centre of a High Court dispute over summer about whether on not his life support should be withdrawn. The 12-year-old was found unconscious by his mum at their home on April 7 and was kept on a ventilator for four months, the Mirror reports.

His family fought to keep the youngster on life support, however after several hearings judges sided with the NHS and agreed to withdraw his care. His funeral was held earlier this month at St Mary’s Church, Prittlewell in Southend-on-Sea.

Archie suffered catastrophic brain injuries, which his mum says were obtained during the blackout challenge (PA)

Ms Dance has since hit back at complaints made to Southend Council, alleging people were partying, drinking and listening to loud music after setting up a gazebo at the grave. She also claims cruel trolls have started leaving items at the site.

She said: "We are 100 per cent being targeted and I have even had death threats. One of the worst things that have been done was somebody left a mock noose made out of plastic. They are absolutely tormenting the life out of us.”

Ms Dance said she put up the gazebo - which has since been taken down - but only had a Starbucks coffee and a box of milk chocolates. She added: "If you call a Starbucks coffee and a box of milk chocolates that somebody bought me for my birthday ‘partying’, then we are guilty. Otherwise it’s nonsense.”

Southend councillor Martin Terry, responsible for public protection, 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.”

Archie Battersbee's coffin is carried into the church. (PA)

In July, a judge based in the Family Division of the High Court in London ruled that doctors could lawfully stop providing life-support treatment to the youngster. Judges heard that Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7 which caused brain damage.

Ms Dance believes Archie had been taking part in an online challenge. Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London, said he was brain-stem dead and said continued life support treatment was not in his best interests.

A High Court judge, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, initially considered the case and concluded that Archie was dead. But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge by his parents against decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be reviewed by a different High Court judge, Mr Justice Hayden.

Hollie Dance attends a vigil at Priory Park in Southend-on-Sea, in memory of her son (PA)

He ruled after a further hearing that ending treatment would be in Archie's best interests. Archie's mum has since called for a public inquiry into her son's case.

She said that while Archie's story has had a lot of publicity, many similar cases in the High Court's Family division don't due to reporting restrictions and are kept away from public scrutiny. "There should be a comprehensive public inquiry into the operation of this system; and then a change of the law to protect the grieving families from cruelty," she added.

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