Mum of Archie Battersbee targeted by death threats and noose left on son’s Southend grave

Archie Battersbee's mum Hollie Dance said she had received death threats.
Credit: PA/Family photo
Archie Battersbee's mum Hollie Dance said she had received death threats. Credit: PA/Family photo

The mother of Archie Battersbee has revealed she has received a barrage of online abuse, including death threats, and that a noose was even left on her son’s grave.

Hollie Dance from Southend said the “very severe trolling” started in May, which was weeks before 12-year-old Archie’s life support was withdrawn on 6 August.

Doctors were given permission to switch off his life support after his parents failed in multiple bids to overturn a High Court ruling.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Ms Dance said the trolling was “absolutely awful”.

“It’s been like it from mid-May,” she said. “The police have been investigating since mid-May so we’re hoping a case is building now.

Archie Battersbee died in August. Credit: Family photo

“They are on it. We’ve got over 10,000 screenshots of some of the vile comments and accusations.”

Ms Dance said much of the abuse was on social media, but there was also a “noose put on his grave” and “hanging ropes on the vigil tree”.

She added that she had received two death threats and the trolling had been "just constant, every single day”.

Ms Dance also revealed that people had complained to Southend Borough Council after she was at his graveside on her birthday on Friday, with a gazebo up.

"The fact they've now rung the council, the cemetery, they've said we've had this gazebo up and we're partying, we're playing music, eating, drinking, making it sound really quite bad," she said.

"It sounds so bad and it's not the case. The gazebo, small gazebo was put up because rain was forecast on my birthday.

"It was bucketing it down at 3pm so we sat under a gazebo then the gazebo was taken down.

"It's like I'm not allowed to grieve, whatever I do."

Hollie Dance speaking at Archie's funeral earlier this month. Credit: PA

Archie had been in a coma since he was found unconscious with a ligature over his head by Ms Dance at home in Southend in April. His mother thinks he may have been taking part in an online challenge.

He was being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments, but doctors concluded that continued life-support treatment was not in his best interests because they believed he was brain-stem dead.

His funeral was held at St Mary's Church in Prittlewell in Southend earlier this month.

"We understand that people will always grieve in different ways when they lose a loved one," said councillor Martin Terry, cabinet member for public protection for Southend Borough Council.

"We would remind all families with loved ones in the cemetery of the conditions of when they purchased the plot, and to remind them that the cemetery is a public space that many people use to visit their loved ones, and as such we want to ensure that it remains respectful for all."

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "Our officers are investigating all the allegations and are working with the family."

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