Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Lorraine King

Archie Battersbee timeline - mum's four months of hell and repeated court setbacks

Archie Battersbee died on Saturday morning after having his life support switched off following a four month-long legal fight by his parents.

The tragic schoolboy had been in hospital since April after he suffered a catastrophic brain injury at his home in Southend, Essex.

His mum and dad, who are separated, launched a desperate bid to continue his treatment and fought seven court rulings against their wishes.

Announcing her 12-year-old son's death, mum Hollie Dance said outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, that Archie "fought right until the very end".

She added: She said: "He was such a beautiful little boy. He fought right until the very end and I am so proud to be his mum."

The family have today demanded an inquiry into the "horrendous" ordeal, saying no other parents "must go through this".

Here is a timeline of the tragic case of Archie which gripped the nation for four months.

April 7

Hollie Dance with her late son Archie Battersbee (PA)
The family released this photo of Archie after he died (haveyoursaystories)

Archie is found unconscious by his mother, Hollie Dance, at her home in Southend, Essex.

He has a ligature around his neck, prompting her to believe he was taking part in an online challenge gone wrong.

The boy is taken to hospital with traumatic head injuries.

Ms Dance, 46, told the Echo it was a "freak accident which resulted in a brain injury."

She said she is holding on to hope after doctors said the youngster hasn't been responding to treatment.

While Hollie believes the lad needs "a bit of time", she still doesn't know the extent of his injuries.

April 26

The 12-year-old died on Saturday (PA)

Barts Health NHS Trust, responsible for Archie's care at the Royal London Hospital, begins High Court proceedings seeking to undertake a test of the brain stem - which is responsible for keeping people alive - and to withdraw mechanical ventilation.

Doctors think it "highly likely" that the youngster is effectively dead, and say it is in his best interests that life-support treatment should stop. Archie's parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, raise concerns.

May 13

Archie had been in hospital since April 7 (PA)
Hollie with Archie in hospital (PA)

High Court Judge Mrs Justice Arbuthnot rules that a brain stem test would be in Archie's best interests.

Ms Dance had urged the judge to give her son, a keen gymnast, "more time".

She said: "Everyone is in such a rush.

"I'm asking the judge to just give him more time - give him time to fight back."

She added: "It's only been five weeks - it took me longer to get over the flu. What's the rush?"

May 16

Ms Dance fought seven court rulings (PA)

Two specialists attempt a nerve stimulation test on Archie, but no response is detected.

Ms Dance said: "Archie changes all the time. He has squeezed my fingers with a tight grip. I think that’s his way of letting me know he’s still here and just needs more time. His eyes open slightly.

"We don’t know the extent of the damage to his brain. He could wake up a very different boy, but I would rather have some of Archie than none of Archie. I just want to kiss his beautiful little face."

June 6-8

Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance outside the hospital (PA)

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, sitting in the Family Division of the High Court, oversees three days of evidence and argument relating to Archie's treatment.

Doctors think it is "very likely" he is "brain-stem dead". Lawyers representing Archie's family say his heart is still beating and want care to continue.

Ms Dance said: “Total strangers are making a decision about whether my son lives or dies.

“It’s so hard as a mother. For 12 years I’ve raised him but now we’ve gone into a hospital you lose your right. It’s awful.”

She added: “I’m devastated, the hospital has had Covid patients in a coma on ventilators for three months, it’s longer than Archie has been in hospital.

“This is my child. I’ve had to become a nurse overnight so I can understand what’s happening to Archie.

“Archie should be treated as a living patient until it can be proven that he’s not.

June 13

Ms Dance outside the hospital in east London (PA)

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot rules that Archie is dead and says doctors can lawfully stop treating him. Archie's family say they plan to appeal.

Hours after the ruling and as the family held a vigil at the hospital – Ms Dance said: “I stroked his hair and held his hand and said we’d keep fighting.

“He’s a 12-year-old boy who’s been given a death sentence. I’m not going to give up, this is just the start of the fight.

“I’ve been tortured for weeks but he’s my boy and I won’t give up. We will appeal.”

June 20

Archie was also a keen boxer (Hollie Dance / SWNS)

Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee are granted permission to appeal against the decision.

Ms Dance said: “I’m so relieved that someone is giving him a chance. That’s all we ever wanted, more time to heal. I’m so emotional.

“I watched it from Archie’s bedside – I made sure he couldn’t hear or see it but I was with him through it.

“When it finished I held his hand and told him he had been given more time.

“I can’t stress this enough, if a parent doesn’t want to hold on to hope or they believe it’s not in their child’s best interest, that’s absolutely fine.

“But I won’t give up hope and it should be a parent’s decision.”

June 29

At the subsequent hearing, three appeal judges rule that evidence relating to what is in Archie's best interests should be reconsidered by a different High Court judge.

Ms Dance said: “We’re delighted.

“We wanted another hearing and we’ve got everything we wanted.”

Ms Dance has also said he has felt him squeeze her hand and that she's been given a "glimmer of hope" after Archie had responded to music and smell.

July 11

The family pleaded for Archie to have a dignified death (PA)
The 12-year-old had been unconscious since April (PA)

High Court judge Mr Justice Hayden hears evidence from doctors that continuing to treat Archie will only "delay the inevitable".

But the boy's mother says her son is a "natural-born fighter" and urges doctors to continue care.

July 15

Mr Justice Hayden rules in favour of the hospital trust, saying the medical evidence is "compelling and unanimous" and paints a "bleak" picture.

He adds: "There can be no hope at all of recovery."

Archie's parents say they will ask Court of Appeal judges to overturn Mr Justice Hayden's decision.

Mr Battersbee added: “There have been too many battles in too short a space of time.

“He (Archie) needs more time.”

July 21-22

A young Archie Battersbee with his older brother Tom Summers (PA)

Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson are told during a two-day hearing that medical evidence shows Archie is in a "comatose state".

July 25

The three Court of Appeal judges rule that doctors can lawfully stop providing life-support treatment to Archie. Again, the family announce plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Tom kissing his brother on the head in hospital (PA)
Ms Dance speaking to the media (PA)

July 28

Archie's family fail to persuade the Supreme Court to intervene in the case.

July 29

Undeterred, the family make a "last-ditch" application to a UN committee to step in.

Ms Dance previously said her son would "never give up" and had told her if he was even in a comatose state, he would want to be kept alive at all costs.

She added to do so would be a "betrayal", adding: "It is not in Archie’s best interests to die.

“‘Planned death’ is another name for euthanasia, which is illegal in this country.

“It is for God to decide what should happen to Archie. As long as Archie is fighting for his life, I cannot betray him. Until Archie gives up, I won’t give up.”

She also presented a video in which she claims her son is breathing on his own.

Archie's heartbroken parents (PA)

July 31

The hospital caring for Archie says his treatment is due to be withdrawn on August 1 at 2pm.

However, it is confirmed that the Court of Appeal has granted a virtual hearing for 11am on August 1 after the UK Government asked it to "urgently consider" a request from the UN committee to continue his treatment so the committee could examine his case.

Ms Dance wrote a letter to Health Secretary Stephen Barclay saying: "Archie is entitled to have the decisions about his life and death, taken by the NHS and UK courts, to be scrutinised by an international human rights body. Hastening his death to prevent that would be completely unacceptable."

Archie died on Saturday after a four-month long court fight (Hollie Dance / SWNS)
The schoolboy was a keen gymnast (PA)

August 1

The Court of Appeal rejects a request to postpone stopping Archie's treatment. It says his life-support care will end at midday the following day.

Ms Dance said the family continued to be "shocked and traumatised" by the brutality of the UK courts and the hospital Trust.

"Our wishes as parents continue to be trampled on and ignored," she said.

"We do not understand the urgency and rush to end life-support. The hospital Trust has at no point given us time to come to terms with what has happened.

This is no way for a compassionate society to treat a family in our situation. We will continue to fight for Archie.”

Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance outside court on July 25 (PA)

August 2

Archie's parents are refused permission to appeal against the latest ruling at the Supreme Court. Ms Dance says Barts Health NHS Trust will begin to withdraw Archie's life support on August 3 at 11am unless the family have submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights by 9am that day.

Ms Dance said she feels "let down, even betrayed" by the decision and later confirmed his life support will be switched off at 11am the next day.

The trust will not begin removing life-support until all legal issues have been resolved.

Hollie Dance speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice on July 25 (PA)

August 3

The European Court of Human Rights refuses the last-ditch application. Archie's family say they intend to ask the High Court to allow the schoolboy to be moved to a hospice.

Ms Dance said: "We've now got to fight to see if we can get him out of here to have a dignified passing at a hospice.

"It's just unfair. The fact is as a parent we've got no rights for our children, it's disgusting."

She added it would be "inhumane" if the court refused to grant permission to take Archie to a hospice to "have a dignified passing" and vowed to "fight until the end".

The Barts Health NHS Trust previously explained that moving Archie to hospice would come with "considerable risk".

They explained because he is in an "unstable condition" there is a risk of even moving him within his hospital bed.

Archie never gained consciousness (Hollie Dance / SWNS)
The youngster was found unconscious at home with a ligature around his neck (Hollie Dance / SWNS)

August 4

Nearly four months after Archie suffered traumatic head injuries, his parents formally lodge High Court proceedings over the move to hospice care - something the hospital opposes.

Archie's care continues. A hearing takes place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, lasting late into the evening.

Ms Dance said: "If Archie is denied oxygen if and when life-support is removed I will continue to give him oxygen - I pray that the High Court will do the right thing.

“If they refuse permission for us to take him to a hospice and for him to receive palliative oxygen it will simply be inhumane and nothing about Archie's 'dignity'."

August 5

Mrs Justice Theis rules it is not in Archie's best interests to be moved to a hospice.

The High Court judge refuses the family permission to appeal against her ruling, granting a stay on the withdrawal of Archie's treatment until 2pm on Friday to allow them to go directly to the Court of Appeal.

Refusing permission to appeal, the Court of Appeal judges say Mrs Justice Theis' ruling dealt "comprehensively with each of the points raised on behalf of the parents" and said the proposed appeal had "no prospect of success".

A bid to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing the High Court ruling violated the European Convention on Human Rights, also fails.

Archie's family is told his life support will be withdrawn at 10am on Saturday, campaign group Christian Concern says.

Ms Dance said after the ruling: "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 family announced Archie's death outside the hospital (PA)

August 6

Archie's mother Ms Dance tells reporters outside the hospital that her son died at 12.15pm on Saturday.

She said she was "the proudest mum in the world", adding: "He was such a beautiful little boy and he fought right until the very end, and I am so proud to be his mum."

Ms Dance also released a new photo of her son.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.