Boy, 12, in coma may have been hurt in ‘online challenge', mother fears

Hollie Dance, 46, of Southend, Essex, says she found son Archie Battersbee with a ligature over his head on April 7

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A 12-year-old boy left in a coma after suffering brain damage in an incident at home might have been taking part in a “online challenge”, his mother has said.

Hollie Dance, 46, of Southend, Essex, says she found son Archie Battersbee with a ligature over his head on April 7.

Miss Dance said: “We initially thought that it was a freak accident but now I’m wondering whether it could be some sort of online challenge.

“Someone got in touch with me to say they’d heard of boys putting ligatures over their head as part of an online challenge.

“It may not be but I’m not ruling it out.

“I’ve asked to the police to investigate.

12-year-old Archie Battersbee suffered brain damage in an incident at home.
12-year-old Archie Battersbee suffered brain damage in an incident at home.
Hollie Dance said she found her son with a ligature over his head on April 7th.
Hollie Dance said she found her son with a ligature over his head on April 7th.

“I think I’ve got a duty to raise the possibility and warn other parents.”

Miss Dance, a former dance teacher, said Archie, a keen gymnast, was in a stable condition in a coma in hospital.

She said an online appeal had been started to raise funds for treatment and she had been overwhelmed by the support the family had received.

“I don’t think there is anyone in Southend who hasn’t reached out,” she said. “I’ve been overwhelmed.

“We’re trying to raise money for treatment and have raised more than £5,000.”

Miss Dance said people could see the online appeal at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/just-for-archie.

Anna Firth, Conservative MP for Southend West, is supporting Archie’s family.

“When Hollie reached out to me, my heart went out to her,” she said.

“I believe that one of the roles of an MP is to help people in their hour of need – what greater hour of need can anyone have?”

She added: “I’ll support her in any way I can.

“I’m delighted that Southend has responded so positively … this sums up Southend and the great community spirit there.”