Judge set to decide fate of Gulf War veteran left in coma after road accident

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Lawyers are preparing to ask a judge to decide whether doctors should stop providing life-support treatment to a soldier-turned-policeman left in a coma after a road accident.

Gulf War veteran Paul Briggs, 43, suffered a severe brain injury in a motorcycle crash while serving with Merseyside Police in July last year.

His wife Lindsey says life-sustaining treatment should stop so that he can die with "dignity" - doctors disagree.

Mr Justice Charles is due to analyse the case in a public trial at the Court of Protection, where judges oversee cases relating to people who lack the mental capacity to take decisions, in Manchester on Monday.

The judge has been told that Mr Briggs is being cared for at Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool.

Doctors treating Mr Briggs, and an independent specialist, say he is in a minimally-conscious state.

Another independent doctor has diagnosed Mr Briggs as being in a permanent vegetative state.

Mrs Briggs, a 40-year-old personal assistant, is being represented by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

She and Mr Briggs married in 2000 and have a daughter, Ella, who is now five.

An Irwin Mitchell spokesman said Mr Briggs had not made any advance decision in writing about what should happen in such circumstances, but said Mr Briggs's relatives did not think that he would have wanted to carry on being treated.

Normally, patients at the centre of Court of Protection litigation are not identified because judges aim to protect their privacy.

But Mr Briggs's accident was widely reported and no-one involved in the litigation has asked for him to be anonymised.

Mr Justice Charles has said hearings will be held in public and Mr Briggs can be named.

The trial is expected to last four days.