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Archie Battersbee inquest: Coroner concludes 12-year-old died accidentally in ‘prank or experiment’ that went wrong | UK News

Archie Battersbee died accidentally in a “prank or experiment” that went wrong, a coroner has concluded.

Essex senior coroner Lincoln Brookes said that Archie “hadn’t intended to harm himself but had done so inadvertently” during the prank or experiment.

Mr Brookes added that Archie wanted to “shock his mum as she came out of the bedroom to find him doing something shocking or reckless” or he was “just experimenting”.

He said: “It probably went wrong very quickly and very badly.”

He added it was “possible” that Archie had been taking part in an online challenge, but he had not seen evidence of this.

Read more:
Hollie Dance tells inquest she believes son’s death was result of tragic accident
Archie Battersbee: Hundreds of mourners gather at funeral for 12-year-old boy

Mr Brookes had considered a conclusion of suicide but ruled this out, adding: “It seems to me that while there were periods of low mood and very low mood during the previous 12 months, in the days preceding his death I haven’t received any evidence of that.”

Speaking outside the court after the inquest, Archie’s mum, Hollie Dance said the coroner had reached the “right decision”.

Hollie Dance, the mother of Archie Battersbee, speaks to media following the second day of the inquest into the death of Archie Battersbee, at Essex Coroner's Court in Chelmsford, Essex. 12-year-old Archie died on August 6, 2022, after his life support was withdrawn following a legal battle between his parents and the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.
Archie’s mum, Hollie Dance said the coroner had reached the ‘right decision’

It had helped her with “some of the answers, but not all”.

She said: “It’s time to allow us as a family to grieve.”

She wanted people to remember her son as “fun-loving, very energetic, one of the most talented children I know”.

Meanwhile, Mr Brookes had said Archie was “full of energy” and “very physical” and that he was “at times very bored”.

He added that Archie liked to “trick” and carry out “stunts” that would “alarm people”.

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August 2022: How Archie’s story unfolded

On the day of the incident in April 2021, Archie had gone out to lunch with his mum, before shopping at Tesco, where he had told her he needed a new coat.

When they got home, she said he had been joking around and playing with their pet rabbit.

They had planned to go to the cinema after and discussed what was on.

That was the last conversation they had, as 10 minutes later, Ms Dance said she found Archie unconscious on the stairs.

Archie would remain on life support until 6 August 2022, when it was withdrawn after his parents failed to overturn a High Court ruling that doctors could lawfully do so.

The 12-year-old died of a brain injury, according to the coroner.

Archie’s family wanted the inquest to address the issue of online safety, in a similar way to the inquest into the death of 14-year-old Molly Russell, which found she died from “an act of self-harm while suffering from depression and the negative effects of online content”.

Ms Dance said her family had experienced trolling and that online abuse was a “major issue that really does have to be addressed”.

Archie Battersbee vigil attracts hundreds of people as his mother vows ‘things have got to change’ | UK News

Hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to Archie Battersbee, the 12-year-old whose life support was withdrawn after a lengthy court battle.

A crowd gathered with affectionate signs at the bandstand in Priory Park in Southend, Essex, Archie’s home town, on Sunday.

Cards and purple balloons – many later released into the sky – had messages written on them and were hung upon a pine tree.

The messages included “a mother’s love”, featuring a photograph of Archie and his mother Hollie Dance.

Children were in attendance and played with bubbles, and one attendee lit a purple flare as a mark of respect.

Ms Dance addressed the crowd to thank them.

“Thank you so, so much for supporting us while we were in that awful place,” she said.

“I hope you all stand by me in trying to change this law, Archie’s army, so that no more of our children and their parents go through this.”

Read more:
A mother’s fight for her son – the Archie Battersbee case

Archie’s mother spoke to journalists earlier in the evening, describing the last few months as “really hard”.

“It was a fight for my little boy’s life. If I had to go back and do it again, I would fight equally hard,” she said.

“I will continue this fight. I have got no intention of giving up, Archie wouldn’t want me to give up, he would definitely want me to continue.

“Things have got to change.”

Archie Battersbee. Pic: Hollie Dance
Archie Battersbee died earlier this month. Pic: Hollie Dance

Archie died on 6 August at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, after a prolonged legal fight.

The boy had been in a coma since 7 April, when his mother found him unconscious at their home.

Doctors treating him said he was “brain-stem dead” and was only being kept alive by medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments.

His family had fought to continue his life support treatment in the hope that Archie would recover.

Archie Battersbee: ‘No family should go through this’ – calls for urgent reform in light of 12-year-old’s death | UK News

“Urgent review and reform” is needed in light of Archie Battersbee’s death, a group that has been supporting his family has said.

The Christian Legal Centre has offered its condolences to the 12-year-old’s loved ones at this “tragic moment”.

Chief executive Andrea Williams said: “The events of the last few weeks raise many significant issues including questions of how death is defined, how those decisions are made and the place of the family.

“No one wants to see other families experience what they have been through.”

Archie had been at the centre of a lengthy legal dispute after he was seriously injured in an incident at his home in Southend, Essex, in April.

He had been in a coma since then and had not regained consciousness, being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments.

Earlier this year, his parents said that the youngster’s heart was still beating and that he had gripped his mother’s hand.

More on Archie Battersbee

But doctors treating the boy had declared Archie to be “brain stem dead”, and argued that the youngster should be disconnected from a ventilator.

This prompted a lengthy but unsuccessful fight in the courts to continue his life support treatment in the hope he would recover.

Archie’s family had later made bids to the High Court, Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights to have him transferred to a hospice to die, but all legal routes were exhausted.

Read more:
How a mother fought to save her son

Archie is just the latest tragedy to be played out publicly in the courts

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A mother’s fight to save her son

‘We hope no family goes through this’

He was taken off medication at 10am on Saturday morning, and his mother Hollie Dance said he died at 12.15pm that afternoon.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Ella Rose Carter – the fiancée of Archie’s eldest brother Tom – said: “There is absolutely nothing dignified about watching a family member or a child suffocate.

“We hope no family has to go through what we have been through. It’s barbaric.”

The Christian Legal Centre has vowed to continue supporting Archie’s family, and said it was thankful for the widespread public support they had received.

Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer at Barts Health NHS Trust – which oversaw Archie’s care – said in a statement: “Members of his family were present at [Archie’s] bedside and our thoughts and heartfelt condolences remain with them at this difficult time.

“The trust would like to thank the medical, nursing, and support staff in the paediatric intensive care department who looked after Archie following his awful accident.

“They provided high-quality care with extraordinary compassion over several months in often trying and distressing circumstances. This tragic case not only affected the family and his carers but touched the hearts of many across the country.”

Archie Battersbee. Pic: Hollie Dance
Archie Battersbee. Pic: Hollie Dance

The ‘golden thread’ running through the case

The family’s love for Archie was described by one judge as the “golden thread” running through the case.

Speaking to Sky News earlier this week, Ms Dance, said: “I don’t think there’s been a day that hasn’t been awful, really. It’s been really hard.

“Despite the hard, strong face and appearance, obviously, in front of the cameras, up until now, I’ve been pretty broken.”

She added: “I’ve done everything that I promised my little boy I’d do, and I’ve done it.”

Archie Battersbee set to have treatment withdrawn on Monday after life support battle | UK News

Archie Battersbee, who is on life support, is set to have treatment withdrawn at 2pm on Monday unless the government complies with an injunction from the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Barts Health NHS Trust, which is treating the 12-year-old, said in a letter to his parents that “no supplemental oxygen will be given” after the endotracheal tube of the mechanical ventilator is removed.

Archie has relied on the machine to breathe since being admitted to hospital on 7 April after being found unconscious at home by his mother.

“The time it takes for the heart to stop beating is often a matter of minutes, but in some cases, this can take longer,” the letter continued.

“A doctor will assess Archie regularly to confirm that the heart has stopped beating but with consideration of the family’s need not to have too much intrusion at such a difficult time.”

Archie’s parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee will be told on Monday morning how the withdrawal process is to be performed, with the aim to “preserve Archie’s dignity”, the letter read.

It went on: “You or any of the family may wish to lie on Archie’s bed with him or have him in your arms, if that should be practically possible.”

More on Archie Battersbee

A High Court judge had ruled that ending treatment is in Archie’s best interests, after reviewing evidence from clinicians and said the boy’s prognosis was “bleak”.

The family says doctors should give Archie a chance to recover and have made an application to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, citing Articles 10 and 12 of the Convention (UNCRPD) which call on nations to ensure the right to life and equal rights for disabled people.

In a letter to Ms Dance and her barrister Mr Bruno Quintavalle, the committee writes it has “requested the state party [the UK] to refrain from withdrawing life-preserving medical treatment, including medical ventilation and artificial nutrition and hydration from the alleged victim while the case is under consideration by the committee”.

Read more:
Archie Battersbee’s mother appeals for help from health secretary
Supreme Court refuses to intervene in life-support battle for brain-damaged boy

Archie's parents Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance
Archie’s parents Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance

On Saturday the government told Sky News it has received correspondence from the UN which it is carefully considering.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognise this is an exceptionally difficult time for Archie Battersbee’s family and our thoughts are with them.

“We have received the letter and will respond in due course.”

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Archie’s mother makes plea

Ms Dance told Sky News she is waiting anxiously for the British government to comply with the UN request.

Barts Health NHS Trust said delaying the start of palliative care would “not be appropriate without an order of the court.”

The family said the assertions were misleading, adding: “We as a family are very disappointed that the Trust’s management has chosen to hide behind euphemisms and to mislead the public.

“It is hard to see any reason for that behaviour except knowing that what they are doing is cruel and wrong.”

Archie Battersbee: Supreme Court refuses to intervene in life-support battle for brain-damaged boy | UK News

The parents of brain-damaged 12-year-old Archie Battersbee have failed to persuade the Supreme Court to intervene in his life-support treatment battle.

The boy’s mother and father, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, had asked Supreme Court justices to give them more time to carry on their fight, possibly taking it to the UN.

But the judges’ decision means the hospital trust can now legally withdraw his medical treatment at any time.

The family’s lawyer has told Sky News Archie’s parents still plan to try to take the case to the UN or the European courts.

It comes after the Court of Appeal earlier this week upheld the High Court’s decision to withdraw life-support treatment for the boy.

The Supreme Court said it “has great sympathy with the plight of Archie’s devoted parents and recognises the emotional pain which they are suffering” but after careful consideration has refused to give them permission to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision.

Mr Battersbee and Ms Dance want the UN to consider Archie’s case, arguing it has a protocol that allows “individuals and families” to make complaints about violations of disabled people’s rights.

More on Archie Battersbee

They claim the UN could ask the UK government to delay the withdrawal of life support while a complaint is investigated.

Archie's parents Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance
Archie’s parents Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance

Archie has relied on mechanical ventilation since being admitted to hospital on 7 April, after being found unconscious with a ligature around his neck at home in Southend, Essex.

Doctors treating him at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, say he is brain-stem dead and continued life-support treatment is not in his best interests.

Barts Health NHS Trust wants to withdraw treatment and was last week granted permission to do what the High Court ruled was best for Archie.

Undated handout photo of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee. A High Court judge is preparing to make decisions about the future of the 12-year-old boy who has not regained consciousness after suffering brain damage in an incident at home more than a month ago.
Archie was a keen gymnast

The court ruled in favour of removing life support in June after a test showed he was dead.

On Monday, Court of Appeal judges said doctors could lawfully stop providing the treatment and the youngster could be disconnected from a ventilator.

The family argue that stopping treatment would be in breach of the UK’s obligations under Articles 10 and 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and Article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children.

12-year-old Archie Battersbee. A High Court judge is preparing to make decisions about the future of the 12-year-old boy who has not regained consciousness after suffering brain damage in an incident at home more than a month ago
Archie suffered severe brain damage

These international obligations say states must take all necessary measures to ensure disabled people enjoy equal rights and that governments should do all they can to prevent the deaths of children and young people.