Archie Battersbee's mum reveals he 'was victim of online bullying' before death
ARCHIE Battersbee's mum has revealed the 12-year-old was allegedly the victim of online bullying in the months leading up to his tragic death.
Hollie Dance, 47, from Southend has spoken out about discovering vile messages sent to her son ahead of an inquest set to begin at Chelmsford Coroner's Court on Tuesday.
Archie passed away on August 6 last year after his family's lengthy, but ultimately unsuccessful legal battle to stop his life support being switched off.
According to the Guardian, Archie was sent both voice and text messages on WhatsApp for months before his death which encouraged him to kill himself.
During an initial inquest in November last year, the coroner heard that police found messages on his phone reflecting a "very low mood".
Speaking to the Guardian last week, Ms Dance said: “I couldn’t read too much because I was just crying a lot, I wasn’t in a good way.
“They were threatening to come to his house, knives were mentioned.
“It came as a shock to me, it’s absolutely heartbreaking, especially as right back from April we’ve been trolled so badly, which again is online bullying. There are two family members that have attempted suicide because of the trolling.
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“So to think that my little boy had been trolled prior to this and we had no idea whatsoever is absolutely heartbreaking.”
Ms Dance has maintained that she thinks her son may have been taking part in an online challenge before he was found unconscious in his Southend home.
But Essex’s senior coroner Lincoln Brookes, presiding over a pre-inquest review hearing in Chelmsford, said there was “no evidence at this stage to substantiate the concern”.
In the Guardian interview, Ms Dance added: “I don’t believe that a 12-year-old all of a sudden starts tying knots around their head like this out of nowhere. He’s seen that somewhere or he’s been told about it.”
“We can’t see and we’re never going to know what he watched,” she said. “It can’t be ruled out that he did an online challenge.”
Ms Dance also stated that her whole family have been targeted by "online trolls" and have faced a campaign of hatred on social media. The grieving mum has urged the full inquest - set to last two days from Tuesday - to address issues surrounding online safety.