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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Antony Thrower

Archie Battersbee: Voice note left on boy's phone said his mum wanted to abort him

A cruel voice note found on Archie Battersbee’s phone from an unknown man said his mum had wanted to have an abortion before he was born, an inquest heard.

The 12-year-old's life support was withdrawn in August after several failed bids by his parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, to prevent doctors from doing so.

Ms Dance had found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head at home in Southend, Essex, on April 7 last year amid suggestions he had been taking part in an online challenge.

The second day of an inquest into his death was told a voice note on his phone, from four days before he was found unconscious, from a young male said his mother had wanted an abortion.

Detective Sergeant Tiffany Gore told proceedings the message dated April 3 was found on Archie's phone when officers looked at it.

Archie's mother Hollie Dance found him unconscious in his room (PA)

The officer said in the audio a young male voice said: "Oi Archie, do you know why you're angry?

"Because your mum wanted you to be an abortion."

A second audio note on the same date added: "You and your mum are the ones sat there all night using."

The officer said there was also a "heated exchange" on February 15 2022 with a "number of voice notes" in a second young male voice.

Archie’s mother found the boy unconscious with a ligature over his head at home in Southend, Essex, on April 7 last year.

The unknown voice cruelly joked Archie's mum had wanted an abortion (PA)
It was suggested Archie was taking part in an online challenge, although there was no evidence on his phone (PA)

His mother believes he may have been taking part in a blackout challenge.

Essex's senior coroner Lincoln Brookes said of the messages: "One could characterise it as a heated exchange of bravado where each are threatening and saying they know someone who could harm (the other)."

DS Gore said police recovered 695 images and 282 videos from Archie's phone but none showed Archie with anything around his head or neck, or participating in any challenges.

She said among the videos were some of the martial arts fan "punching on the bob", adding they showed "a happy little boy enjoying his hobbies".

The officer said Archie had TikTok on his phone and she "can't say with absolute certainty Archie didn't see an online challenge" or something containing "suicidal thoughts".

Meanwhile Archie's older half brother Thomas Summers described him as a "joker", and added Archie has asked him about where he had bought a coat from.

Hollie with her son Archie in hospital (PA)
Proceedings heard Archie had not been in a low mood in the days before the incident (PA)

He said: “I would teach him how to box and we would playfight together.

"I do not believe Archie would have intentionally harmed himself in any way when just a few hours before he was looking to buy a coat.”

Archie's older half sister Lauren Summers said she could not recall "any signs or indications of Archie being in a low mood or displaying unusual behaviour".

She described an occasion in the days before the incident when Archie was playing, trying to pull a door closed with a cord attached to the top of his head.

Matthew Badcock, the headmaster at Archie's former primary school, said: "Although Archie was challenging he was lovely with it and rarely disrespectful."

Hollie Dance arriving at Essex Coroner's Court (PA)

He described times when Archie "would go to the top of the stairwell and was hanging over the top and staff had to pull him back".

"Archie had such extreme upper body strength I never felt he would fall," he said.

Mr Badcock said that Archie was a "complex child" but he "never felt Archie was in danger of harm", adding: "There's no doubt Hollie loved Archie immensely and he was her little prince."

He said that when he heard of the incident he "never for one second believed" Archie was trying to harm himself.

"My gut reaction was he was doing something athletic or mucking about and it had gone wrong," said Mr Badcock.

The inquest heard Archie had been suspended from secondary school on three separate occasions, with the most recent being a two-day suspension on March 17 for a physical assault against a pupil.

The family at a vigil in Archie's honour (PA)

Dr Malik Ramadhan, who is medical director of the Royal London hospital and was not one of Archie's treating clinicians, was asked to give an overview of Archie's time at the hospital.

He said that when Archie arrived from Southend Hospital there were "signs of neurological damage".

"An initial electrical test of his brain showed there was no activity," he said.

"It was repeated with music being played and his mother with him to see if there was any response and there was no response to any outside stimulation."

He said that the hospital formed the view that it was "not a survivable injury".

"Archie was on the brink of death when he was in Southend and remained on the brink of death for the next four months and was kept alive by completely artificial means," Dr Ramadhan said.

The inquest continues.

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