NATIONAL NEWS: Alfie Evans' parents fail in 11th-hour bid to have son flown to Rome
The parents of Alfie Evans have failed in a last-ditch attempt to persuade judges to let them move their terminally-ill son to a hospital in Rome.
Tom Evans and Kate James have been battling to get treatment for the toddler elsewhere after Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool switched off his life support on Monday.
Medics at the hospital have argued that further treatment would be not only 'futile' but also 'unkind and inhumane' to the 23-month-old, but his parents disagreed and are continuing to fight to prolong his life.
Having lost two rounds of fights in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights, the couple mounted a 'one last chance' legal challenge.
They argued that by continuing to breathe despite being disconnected from a ventilator, Alfie had defied doctors' expectations and the case should be reviewed.
But a High Court judge ruled against them on Tuesday, and today three Court of Appeal judges dismissed a challenge against that decision.
Lawyers representing bosses at Alder Hey told the court Alfie's condition was irreversible and there was no evidence it had changed. They said the fact he continued to breathe unaided had not surprised specialists.
Lord Justice McFarlane, who headed the appeal court panel of judges, said Alfie's parents were trying to take 'one last chance' but there was no prospect of the couple's challenge succeeding.
He said Alfie was in 'the middle' of a palliative care plan.
The two other appeal judges, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Coulson, agreed.
Lady Justice King said there was 'acceptance' that Alfie was dying.