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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Katie Weston

Archie Battersbee's mum reveals moment she screamed after finding unconscious son

Archie Battersbee's mother believes her son died after accidentally falling from the banister at their home and suffering a neck injury, an inquest heard today.

The 12-year-old's life support was withdrawn on August 6 last year after his parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, failed in bids to overturn a High Court ruling that doctors could lawfully do so.

Judges were told Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head at home in Southend, Essex, on April 7 last year.

On the first day of an inquest into his death in Chelmsford, a tearful Ms Dance told of finding her son unresponsive by their staircase before running outside and screaming for help.

She said: "I was crying hysterically, I was saying 'please don't leave mummy, I love you little man'.

Archie's life support was withdrawn on August 6 last year (PA)

"I repeated that over and over, I just didn't want him to leave me."

Asked by Essex's senior coroner Lincoln Brookes how she thinks her son died, Ms Dance replied: "I think he climbed on the banister and probably fell, causing serious injury to his neck, resulting in unconsciousness."

She said her belief is that Archie's death was an "accident".

Ms Dance also set out that Archie was the "apple of my eye", "well-loved" and "protected".

Ms Dance arriving for the inquest at Essex Coroner's Court (PA)
Paul Battersbee at Essex Coroner's Court in Chelmsford (PA)

She said Archie was affected by the separation of herself and his father, that he endured bullying at school and was taken out of mainstream education.

Archie was a lover of gymnastics and mixed martial arts (MMA) with his first fight, which he was "looking forward to", scheduled for weeks after his death, the inquest heard.

Ms Dance added that Archie "thought he was the next Spider-Man" and would often climb on things.

Family members said "he wasn't down, just a bit bored" in the weeks before he died, Ms Dance told the hearing.

Archie's family including dad Paul (left) and mum Hollie (second right) arriving for the inquest (PA)

The coroner asked Ms Dance if she was aware Archie had been expressing thoughts of self-harm and suicide, to which she replied: "no".

Mr Brookes went on: "The police found he had shared some thoughts with others online or in a WhatsApp group. How were you when you read that?"

Ms Dance said: "Heartbroken, very surprised... if there were any marks on his body I would have seen them."

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.

The 12-year-old was at the centre of a legal battle between his parents and a hospital (PA)
A family handout photo of Archie's brother kissing him on the head in hospital (PA)

Ms Dance has previously said he may have been taking part in an online challenge, and he suffered brain damage.

On Tuesday, she told the inquest: "I still don't know if Archie was trying the blackout challenge on April 7 or before, I still don't know what he was watching on TikTok."

She added: "He hated bullying and loud shouting. I can see that he might possibly be influenced, even though he knew right from wrong, if that's what peers and social media were telling him to do so. I fear that's what was prompted."

Ms Dance attends a vigil in memory of her son Archie (PA)

Mr Brookes said at a preliminary inquest hearing in November last year he had seen no evidence that Archie was taking part in any online blackout challenge but had been told that police found messages on the youngster's phone reflecting "very low mood".

At the outset of the hearing, Mr Brookes offered his "deep condolences".

He said the topics the inquest will cover include Archie's medical cause of death and his "state of mind and his intentions on April 7 2022".

The inquest continues.

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