Archie Battersbee’s family want to move him to hospice for peaceful final days

Archie Battersbee’s family want the 12-year-old to be moved to a hospice should his life support to be cut off, a friend has said.

Ella Carter said the “seven or eight” security guards around his room made for a chaotic environment.

“If this is Archie’s last couple of days it needs to be peaceful and it needs to be a calm atmosphere, and it’s the complete opposite really,” she said.

“We would really like it to be in a hospice – I mean that’s exactly what they’re designed for, they’re so well-equipped to deal with situations like this.

“If the trust can work with us and co-operate with us in working towards getting him in a hospice we would be forever grateful for that.”

Doctors had previously said they would start withdrawing treatment from midday today, but the family filed an urgent appeal to the Supreme Court, buying the schoolboy more time.

However, at roughly 4.30pm today, it was announced his parents had lost their bid to block the withdrawal of his life-sustaining treatment pending a review of his case by a UN committee.

Announcing the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the appeal, the judges said: “As this panel stated in its note of determination last week, the justices have great sympathy with the plight of Archie’s devoted parents who face a circumstance that is every parent’s nightmare – the loss of a much-loved child.”

They added: “While there was evidence that Archie was a child with religious beliefs, was very close to his mother and would not have wished to leave her alone, those are only some of the factors which the courts have to consider in their evaluation of where Archie’s best interests lie.

“It was against that background that Mr Justice Hayden held that it would not be lawful to continue life-sustaining treatment.

“The Court of Appeal upheld that judgment and this court refused permission further to appeal.

“Now the application is for a stay of the order authorising the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment to give time for the (UN) committee to consider Archie’s case, as the committee has requested.

“The panel is satisfied not only that the Court of Appeal has not erred in the sense mentioned above but that it made the correct decision.”

The panel concluded: “According to the law of England and Wales, Archie’s best interests and welfare are the paramount consideration.

“The panel reaches this conclusion with a heavy heart and wishes to extend its deep sympathy to Archie’s parents at this very sad time.”

Before the Supreme Court announcement, his family said that if his life support was to be cut off they want him to be moved to a hospice where he can pass away in a “peaceful” environment.

The 12-year-old has been in a coma since April after he suffered a catastrophic brain injury.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, said he was brain-stem dead and that continued life-support treatment was not in his best interests.

And on Monday afternoon, shortly after 3pm, a judge ruled the schoolboy’s life support could be turned off after his family lost a last-ditch bid to keep him alive.

Speaking outside The Royal London Hospital, Ella Carter, a friend of Archie’s family, said: “We’re hopeful that the Supreme Court will accept our appeal and it will be given the proper consideration it deserves.

“I think it’s hard to get hopes up after time and time again of disappointment, but we’re as hopeful as we can be.”

Having left Archie’s room to speak to reporters, she added: “The atmosphere is OK because we’ve got all the family around us at the moment.

“I think things are a little bit tense because the order says that it was going to happen at 12 o’clock today.”

Mum Hollie Dance added: “We are having to battle over every decision with the hospital. There is nothing dignified in how we are being treated as a family in this situation. We do not understand what the rush is and why all of our wishes are being denied.

The Supreme Court has now confirmed it has received an application and that it is being considered by a panel of three justices.

A spokeswoman for the court said: “The Supreme Court is aware of the urgency of this matter. A panel of three justices will consider the application for permission to appeal ‘on paper’, in the usual way.”

Sir Andrew McFarlane’s ruling on Monday came after a UN committee asked the British government to reconsider.

But Sir Andrew ruled: “It is not part of the law of the United Kingdom … and it is not appropriate for this court to apply an unincorporated international treaty into its decision-making process.”

He added: “Every day that (Archie) continues to be given life-sustaining treatment is contrary to his best interests and, so, a stay, even for a short time, is against his best interests.”

The judge’s decision comes after a number of appeals by his parents Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee, who are separated but live together in Southend, Essex.

His mother had previously vowed to never give up, adding her boy would have wanted to “fight to the end”.

Ms Dance had released a video of her son she claimed provided ‘new’ evidence he is still breathing on his own.

She insisted Archie is able to breathe independently of a respirator as the Christian Legal Centre – which is supporting the family’s case – and circulated a video that they wanted to submit as evidence.

Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7 and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.

The youngster has not regained consciousness since.