No evidence Archie Battersbee took part in TikTok challenge, coroner says

There is no evidence on Archie Battersbee's phone to suggest that he had taken part in a TikTok challenge before he died, a coroner has said.

The 12-year-old was found unconscious with a ligature over his head at his home in April and died five months later when his life support was switched off after a legal battle between his parents and doctors.

His mother, Hollie Dance, said she believed he may have taken part in an online "blackout" challenge.

Archie had been "using and accessing TikTok" on the day he was discovered unconscious, an inquest review hearing was told on Tuesday.

"There are no photographs or videos on the download that suggest Archie was taking part in any online challenge," Lincoln Brookes, a senior coroner, told the inquest in Essex.

"There's no evidence at this stage to substantiate the concern, the fear of Ms Dance, about the choking challenge or the blackout challenge, whether on TikTok or frankly on any other platform or provider."

Most of his search content was around "MMA fighters, boxing or music videos", he said.

Police asked for 'full forensic download'

The hearing was told that the police commissioned a "full forensic download" of the boy's phone.

Officers took evidence from it on 7 April and then again on 13 June, the hearing in Chelmsford was told.

They found "a series of messages which reflected Archie's mood", Essex Police Detective Inspector Sarah Weeks said.

"It's low mood we're looking at here, very low mood."

Archie was found unconscious at his home in Southend, Essex, on 7 April.

Before his death, Archie's parents, Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee, failed in their bid to overturn a High Court ruling that doctors could lawfully switch off his life support.

They were being supported by Christian campaigners who were also linked to the cases of Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans.

Ms Dance later called for "Charlie's Law", a campaign for the parents of sick children to get more support and choice in the treatment of their child.

She said she believed turning off Archie's life support was not in his best interest, despite doctors' reports he was brain stem dead.

After the hearing, Ms Dance appeared tearful and said she did not wish to comment further.

The full inquest, set for 7 February, will cover Archie's medical cause of death and his "state of mind and his intentions on April 7 2022".