Parents of sick Alfie set for talks over life-support treatment

A couple at odds with doctors over whether their sick 19-month-old son should continue to get life-support treatment are preparing to mediate in the hope of avoiding further court action.

Tom Evans and Kate James, both 20 and from Liverpool, will hold private discussions with specialists caring for Alfie Evans at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool in January, lawyers say.

A High Court judge began analysing preliminary issues in the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Tuesday.

Mr Justice Hayden was told that Alfie, who was born on May 9 2016, was in a "semi-vegetative state" and had a degenerative neurological condition doctors had not definitively diagnosed.

The judge said he would make decisions on what was in Alfie's best interests if agreement could not be reached - and indicated that any trial would start in Liverpool on February 1.

But he said he wanted the couple to mediate with doctors.

He said everyone wanted to do what was best for Alfie.

Specialists at Alder Hey say continuing life-support treatment is not in Alfie's best interests.

Alfie's parents disagree and want permission to fly their son to a hospital in Rome.

They hope that specialists at the Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital will be able to pinpoint what is wrong with Alfie.

Barrister Rebecca Foulkes, who is representing Alfie's parents, told the judge: "Their priority is to make sure that everything that can be done for Alfie is done."

She added: "They are not willing to give up."

Mr Evans said, after Tuesday's hearing, that he would be "made up" if Mr Justice Hayden could visit Alfie in hospital.

"Alfie will show the judge what I can see," said Mr Evans.

"Alfie will show the judge everything he has got in him.

"Alfie will do all he can to show the judge he has got life in him."

He said: "I see what I see every day in my boy - and I see life."