The parents of a 23-month-old boy who has been at the centre of a life-support treatment battle have lost their latest legal fight.
A lawyer representing Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, on Monday returned to the Court of Appeal to ask judges to rule that Alfie Evans should be allowed to travel to a foreign hospital.
Lord Justice Davis, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan ruled against them after an appeal court hearing in London.
Alfie’s father, Tom Evans, emerged from the hospital two hours after the decision was given by judges in London.
Wiping away tears and visibly shaking he thanked supporters surrounding him and again asked for his son’s life not be terminated, but to let other doctors “look after him”.
He added: “They can’t break us, we are never going to back down.
“Alfie, the family and all of our supporters are stronger than ever and we will keep fighting all the way.
“We will never give up on you Alfie.”
The couple, who are from Liverpool, had already lost fights in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.
In February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.
Specialists at Alder Hey said life-support treatment should stop and Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed that further treatment was futile.
Alfie’s parents say “the state” is wrongly interfering with their parental choice. They want to move Alfie to a hospital in Rome.
Mr Justice Hayden said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless. Court of Appeal judges upheld his decisions.
Supreme Court justices and European Court of Human Rights judges refused to intervene.
Judges have heard that Alfie, born on May 9 2016, is in a “semi-vegetative state” and has a degenerative neurological condition.
Last week, Mr Justice Hayden endorsed a detailed plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment, after considering a number of issues at a follow-up High Court hearing.
Barrister Paul Diamond, who represented Alfie’s parents, on Monday asked the three appeal judges to overturn decisions made by Mr Justice Hayden last week.
Alfie’s parents say their son has improved in recent weeks and had asked Mr Justice Hayden to allow a new assessment.
Mr Hayden refused that request. He said medical experts’ unanimous view was that Alfie’s brain had been eroded by disease and further assessment was pointless.
The child’s family also suggested that Alfie was being unlawfully detained at Alder Hey.
The judge also dismissed that suggestion.
As news from the court filtered through to Alfie’s supporters at Alder Hey hospital, tears mixed with anger and police officers fanned out around the crowd, who began a chant of “Save Alfie Evans!”.
Alfie’s parents are now running out of options.
As well as ruling against them today, Lord Justice Davis, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan also rejected a request for the case to go back to the Supreme Court.
Alfie’s parents now have 24 hours to ask permission directly from the Supreme Court to hear their case, which would be their final chance to stop their son’s life support from being withdrawn at Alder Hey.
The appeal court judges today said doctors should continue treating Alfie until a decision is reached by the Supreme Court over whether to hear the case again.
Meanwhile, judges have raised concern about the protest staged by supporters of Alfie Evans’ parents at Alder Hey Hospital last week.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Liverpool hospital on Thursday after father Tom Evans told how staff had stopped him from “discharging” him.
The appeal court judges, today said they were concerned about reports of what had happened.
One judge, Lord Justice Moylan, said staff had not been able to get into the hospital.
He said staff, patients and patients’ relatives had been frightened.
A High Court judge last week raised similar concern at a separate hearing.
Mr Justice Hayden said at one stage ambulances had been unable to enter Alder Hey.