Archie Battersbee was sent messages telling him to kill himself

Archie Battersbee was bullied and sent WhatsApp messages telling him to kill himself as the 12-year-old’s mother reveals two family members have tried to take their own lives after being trolled over his death

  • An inquest into 12-year-old Archie Battersbee’s death is due to begin next week 
  • For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local branch

The mother of Archie Battersbee has revealed the 12-year-old was a victim of online bullying in the months before his death.

His grieving family say they discovered sickening WhatsApp messages, both text and voice notes, sent to the schoolboy including ones where he was encouraged to kill himself. 

Hollie Dance, 47, also said they have been targeted by vile trolls who have sent them tens of thousands of abusive messages since the news of Archie’s incident broke last April.

The relentless trolling has taken such a toll that two family members have attempted suicide, she said.

The youngster was discovered lying unconscious in his bedroom at his home in Southend, Essex, with a ligature over his head.

12-year-old Archie Battersbee was at the centre of a life-support treatment fight during the summer until his mechanical intervention was finally turned off on August 6

Hollie Dance, 47, pictured with her son Archie, 12, who never regained consciousness after he was found with a ligature around his neck at home in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, on April 7

He was taken to hospital but never regained consciousness and was believed to be brain-stem dead by doctors who said his life-support treatment should come to an end.

Archie’s family appealed to a judge for ‘more time’ to see if he would ‘fight back’ but after an unsuccessful legal battle his life support was switched off in August last year.  

His mother believed her son, a keen gymnast who had suffered ‘catastrophic’ brain damage, may have been taking part in an online challenge. 

However, a coroner found in a pre-inquest review that saw no evidence that Archie was taking part in a ‘blackout challenge’.

Now his parents have learned Archie was receiving relentless abuse through threatening WhatsApp messages prior to his death.

The messages have been disclosed ahead of an inquest into the little boy’s death, which is set to begin next week. 

Ms Dance told the Guardian: ‘I couldn’t read too much because I was just crying a lot, I wasn’t in a good way.

Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, pictured at her son’s funeral at St Mary’s Church in Prittlewell

Archie Battersbee (pictured left and right, in hospital), 12, was found unresponsive at home in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, with a ligature around his neck on April 7

‘They were threatening to come to his house, knives were mentioned.

Ms Dance said the messages were a ‘shock’, especially as the family have been a target for trolls since April, with nearly 20,000 screenshots of abuse that are now being assessed by lawyers and police.

She said that two family members had attempted suicide because of the trolling they had received.

She added: ‘So to think that my little boy had been trolled prior to this and we had no idea whatsoever is absolutely heartbreaking.’

Sources close to Archie’s family told the Guardian that the WhatsApp messages, both text and voice notes, went on for months and even encouraged the schoolboy to take his own life.

In one sickening message, Ms Dance was sent a picture of her son in his hospital bed superimposed on to an image of a person bending over and smiling, captioned: ‘Do you think he’s dead?’

Hollie Dance, 47, pictured with her son Archie, 12, who never regained consciousness after he was found with a ligature around his neck at home in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, on April 7

Archie with his mother Hollie Dance (left), brother Tom Summers and sister Lauren Summers

Archie’s elder brother Tom, 22, went to the hospital every day to visit him and tried to get him to respond

Even Archie’s school friends have been targeted by vile trolling, Ms Dance said. 

She added: ‘We didn’t ask for this limelight, it’s my little boy has lost his life.’

Doctors who treated 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.

Last May, bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, asked a High Court judge to make decisions on what medical moves were in Archie’s best interests.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot initially considered the case and concluded that Archie was dead.

But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge, by Archie’s parents, against Mrs Justice Arbuthnot’s ruling and said evidence should be reviewed by a different High Court judge.

Mr Justice Hayden then ruled, after a further hearing, that ending treatment would be in Archie’s best interests and his life support was switched off.

He died on August 6 and a month later the schoolboy was laid to rest today with Ms Dance paying tribute to the ‘best boy ever.

She told the congregation: ‘He was just such a beautiful little boy and just he made the most of absolutely everything that he did.

‘He lived a very fulfilled and happy life. He was very, very energetic.’

Archie’s parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee fought vigorously to keep him on life support, which was finally turned off on August 6

A pre-inquest review in November heard that police found messages on the 12-year-old’s phone reflecting ‘very low mood’.

Detective Inspector Sarah Weeks of Essex Police told the inquest: ‘There are no photographs or videos on the download that suggest Archie was taking part in any online challenge.’

She added: ‘There’s no evidence of Archie filming any videos on the day of the incident.’

She said that Archie accessed YouTube ‘regularly’ and most of his search terms were about ‘MMA fighters, boxing or music videos’.

‘Most of his internet searches are in relation to his interests,’ she said, including one for ‘how much do MMA fighters get paid’.

She said that Archie had the TikTok social media app on his phone and he was ‘using and accessing TikTok’ on April 7, but there was ‘no evidence’ to suggest he was taking part in an online challenge.

Detective Inspector Weeks said Archie’s phone had since been submitted for a ‘full forensic download’.

In a further update following this, she said: ‘There are a series of messages which reflect Archie’s mood.

‘This has only been received this morning so we will look to prepare a full report.’

The coroner, Mr Brookes, said: ‘It’s low mood we’re looking at here, very low mood.’

He added: ‘There’s no evidence at this stage to substantiate the concern, the fear of Miss Dance, about the choking challenge or the blackout challenge, whether on TikTok or frankly on any other platform or provider.’

He said the topics that the full inquest will cover will include Archie’s medical cause of death and his ‘state of mind and his intentions on April 7, 2022’.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised by this article, for confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see for details. 

Source: Read Full Article