Archie Battersbee's mum says she now doesn’t know how he died at inquest
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Archie Battersbee’s mum has told his inquest that she doesn’t know if he did the TikTok blackout challenge before he was found unconscious, but believes his death was an 'accident'.
Archie was found unconscious by his mum Hollie Dance at their home in Southend-on-Sea in Essex on 7 April.
The 12-year-old's parents launched a legal battle with the NHS hospital where he was being treated to keep his life support switched on, but Archie died in August after they'd exhausted all avenues of appeal.
Initially it was thought that Archie may have taken part in an online challenge, but Hollie has now said she's not certain if this was the case.
“I think he climbed on the banister and probably fell, causing serious injury to his neck, resulting in unconsciousness,” she told the inquest on Tuesday (7 February).
He often climbed things and ‘thought he was the next Spider-Man,’ his mother explained to the court.
Hollie had previously feared he had taken part in a viral online challenge which led to his brain injuries.
“I still don’t know if Archie was trying the blackout challenge on April 7 or before, I still don’t know what he was watching on TikTok,” she said.
The mum told the inquest that Archie had been affected by his parents’ separation and had experienced bullying in school, which lead to his removal from mainstream education.
She added: “He hated bullying and loud shouting. I can see that he might possibly be influenced, even though he knew right from wrong, if that’s what peers and social media were telling him to do so.
"I fear that’s what was prompted.”
Essex’s senior coroner Lincoln Brookes said at a pre-inquest hearing in November that there was ‘no evidence’ to substantiate that Archie had taken part in an online challenge.
Brookes also shared that the police found messages discussing self-harm and suicide.
She said: “The police found he had shared some thoughts with others or in a WhatsApp group. How were you when you read that?”
Hollie replied: “Heartbroken, very surprised… if there were any marks on his body I would have seen them.”
On the day Archie was found unconscious at home, Hollie recalled: “I was crying hysterically, I was saying ‘please don’t leave mummy, I love you little man’.
“I repeated that over and over, I just didn’t want him to leave me.”
Hollie and Archie’s dad Paul Battersbee took their son’s case to the European Court of Human Rights and made a last-minute plea to have the 12-year-old moved to a hospice.
He died at the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, east London on 6 August.
The inquest is expected to last two days.