Archie Battersbee showed 'no signs of low mood' before his fatal injury, inquest hears

Archie Battersbee
Credit: PA
Archie Battersbee died in hospital after weeks of legal battles. Credit: PA/Family photo

Archie Battersbee's brother and sister have told an inquest they saw no signs of low mood in the 12-year-old in the days before he was found unconscious at home with a ligature around his neck.

The youngster from Southend died on 6 August, four months after he suffered a brain injury at home, and following a lengthy legal battle by his family to keep his life support on.

A two-day inquest in Essex is continuing on Wednesday, with the aim of establishing how Archie died.

Essex’s senior coroner Lincoln Brookes said at a preliminary inquest hearing in November he had been told that police found messages on the youngster’s phone reflecting “very low mood”.

On Wednesday, the court heard from Archie's older half-brother Thomas Summers, who said he would speak to or message the 12-year-old on a daily basis, and that the two would train for boxing together.

Thomas Summers visiting his younger brother Archie as he was being treated in hospital. Credit: Family photo

"I know I was someone he would come to me if he had any problems or worries," he said in a statement read to the court.

“I can’t say I ever noticed Archie in a low mood or down, he was always full of energy of playful.

"I would not have said he was in a low mood. However having thought of it, there was a time when Archie was in secondary school, he said to me he was sad."

Mr Summers said he did not "recall specifically what he said" but that he "reassured him he had nothing to be sad about".

He said: "He did not go into detail about what made him feel sad. I reassured him I was there for him whenever it was needed. I wasn’t overly concerned or worried about it.”

Mr Summers said he last saw Archie one or two days before his injury.

“I was filming Archie boxing. Archie was in really good spirits... his usual happy self. I had no concerns or issues for him."

Archie was found unconscious by his mother Hollie Dance, at her home in Southend on 7 April 2022, with a ligature around his neck.

Ms Dance believed he was taking part in an online challenge gone wrong, and said earlier in the inquest that she now believes his death was an accident. He was taken to hospital with traumatic head injuries.

Archie Battersbee with his mother Hollie Dance Credit: Family photo

Archie's sister Lauren Summers also said in a statement to the court that he had "always been a good kid... he was always happy".

"I never really saw him looking sad. He would bounce about on the furniture doing gymnastics," she said.

"Even after the devastating events of that day, I can not recall any signs of Archie being in a low mood, or displaying unusual behaviour.

“Archie and I were so close. Had he ever felt low or worried he could have opened up to me, but he never did because he was always so happy and upbeat.”

Weeks after Archie was found unconscious at home, doctors at Barts Health NHS Trust, responsible for Archie's care at the Royal London Hospital, thought it was "highly likely" that the 12-year-old was effectively dead.

They said it was in his best interests that life-support treatment should stop, so began High Court proceedings to test his brain stem, but Archie's parents said his heart was still beating and mounted a legal challenge to prevent his life-support being withdrawn.

The inquest continues.

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