Mother to appeal after judge said brain-damaged daughter could be allowed to die

A single mother is preparing to mount an appeal after a High Court judge ruled that her brain-damaged daughter should be allowed to die.

Mr Justice Poole decided earlier this month that specialists treating five-year-old Pippa Knight, who has a rare condition, could lawfully stop providing life-support treatment.

Pippa’s mother, Paula Parfitt, 41, of Strood, Kent, said she was devastated by the decision and was trying to raise money to fund a challenge to the ruling.

Campaign group the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (Spuc) says it has agreed to pay for lawyers to represent Ms Parfitt.

A spokesman said Ms Parfitt was waiting for a Court of Appeal hearing date to be confirmed.

“When my solicitor told me, I was so relieved and overwhelmed and I must admit I shed some tears,” said Ms Parfitt, in a statement released by Spuc.

“Spuc has given Pippa a second chance – and she deserves a second chance.”

Lawyers said Ms Parfitt had been granted legal aid to pay for the High Court fight but her bid for more aid to fund an appeal had failed.

Mr Justice Poole said specialists should keep treating Pippa for a short period to give Ms Parfitt time to organise an appeal.

The judge heard evidence at a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London in December, and described the case as “heart-rending”.

Pippa Knight legal case
Pippa Knight legal case

Pippa was born in April 2015 and initially developed normally, but in December 2016 she became unwell and began to suffer seizures, the judge heard.

Doctors diagnosed acute necrotising encephalopathy.

The judge heard she is now in a vegetative state and has no awareness.

Specialists treating Pippa at Evelina Children’s Hospital in London said life-support treatment should end.

Hospital bosses had asked Mr Justice Poole to rule that ending treatment, and allowing Pippa to die, would be lawful and in her best interests.

Ms Parfitt, who told the court that Pippa’s father was dead, disagreed.

She wants her daughter to be placed on a portable ventilator and allowed home, and wanted the judge to authorise a home-care trial.

Mr Justice Poole ruled against her.