Archie Battersbee's dad 'couldn't accept his death was deliberate', inquest hears

Archie Battersbee and Paul Battersbee
Credit: PA
Paul Battersbee arriving for the inquest into the death of his son, Archie. Credit: PA

The father of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee has told an inquest that he "could not accept" his son's death had been deliberate.

The youngster from Southend was found unconscious at home with a ligature over his head on 7 April last year and, after four months in a coma and a lengthy legal battle, died on 6 August.

A two-day inquest in Essex began on Tuesday, with the aim of establishing how Archie died.

Paul Battersbee, who is separated from Archie's mother, told the court in a statement read by the coroner that he had been due to look after his son on the day he was injured.

"I got a phone call from Hollie and she was hysterical. [She said] 'he’s at the hospital. Get up the hospital', she said.

"I went to Southend hospital. I can’t remember who told me [what had happened]. It was all so surreal.

“I thought it may have been a prank, or a trick gone wrong. But I couldn’t accept it had been deliberate, as Archie had been too happy.”

Earlier, Archie's mother Hollie Dance had told the inquest she thought her son's death had been an accident.

Asked by Essex's senior coroner Lincoln Brookes how she thought her son had died, Ms Dance replied: "I think he climbed on the banister and probably fell, causing serious injury to his neck, resulting in unconsciousness."

Archie's death followed a lengthy legal battle between his family and doctors, as doctors said he was "brain-stem dead", while his family argued his heart was still beating so care should have continued.

Mr Battersbee described his son as "a lovely little boy, a joker, a storyteller".

“Archie loved his MMA [mixed martial arts], which he started aged four.

“Archie loved dressing up, in superhero outfits, dancing and dressing up as characters.”

He added that he had "not noticed any change in Archie's behaviour at all" before his death.

He added: “Archie was just a happy boy, and I just want answers as to what happened to him."

The hearing continues.

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