Alfie's Army try to storm hospital after European Court rejects parents' plea

An angry mob tried to charge inside the children's hospital treating terminally ill Liverpool toddler Alfie Evans.

Police block protesters from the entrance to Alder Hey Children's Hospital
Police block protesters from the entrance to Alder Hey Children's Hospital

Dozens of people protesting against the decision to withdraw life-support for the 23-month-old had earlier blocked a road outside the hospital before they made a dash for the main entrance after a final legal appeal to continue treatment was lost.

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But as they ran towards the main doors a squad of police officers scrambled to block their way, forming a line to repel the intruders.

Judges have approved plans for withdrawing treatment

After a tense stand off the crowd re-joined other protesters further away on the road outside the hospital.

The protests come as European human rights judges rejected a plea from Alfie's parents to continue life support.

Tom Evans and Kate James, who are both in their early 20s and from Liverpool, on Friday failed to persuade Supreme Court justices to consider their case.

They had asked judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France, to intervene.

Tom Evans and Kate James

But judges at the ECHR have refused to intervene.

Supporters of Alfie Evans' family began gathering outside the hospital around 10am today, their numbers swelling as the morning went on.

Around midday they briefly blocked the dual carriageway outside the hospital, an ambulance becoming trapped as traffic quickly backed up.

Protesters, linking arms and chanting, "Save Alfie Evans" allowed the ambulance to pass before abandoning the protest in the road.

Judges have approved plans for withdrawing treatment

Alfie's father Tom, has been broadcasting intermittently on Facebook Live from inside, where several groups of police officers have been patrolling the corridors.

Other video posted from inside showed police officers blocking the doors of a ward or treatment room as people tried to get inside.

Mr Evans briefly spoke to supporters outside the hospital, railing against the treatment of his son.

Alfie's parents had already lost one round of fights, in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and ECHR.

Tom Evans and Kate James

In February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey 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 want to move their son from Alder Hey to a hospital in Rome.

The couple said Italian doctors were willing to treat the little boy and an air ambulance was available.

But 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 ECHR judges refused to intervene.

The couple are now arguing that Alfie is being wrongly "detained" at Alder Hey and have made a habeas corpus application.

A writ of habeas corpus - Latin for "you may have the body" - is a legal manoeuvre which requires a court to examine the legality of a detention.

It is a piece of common law which probably dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. Mr Justice Hayden has dismissed that habeas corpus claim.

Appeal judges have upheld Mr Justice Hayden's decision and on Friday Supreme Court justices said they would not intervene.

Judges have approved plans for withdrawing treatment and bringing Alfie's life to an end.

On Friday Supreme Court justices said there should be no further delay in treatment being stopped.

But Alfie's parents made another application to the ECHR - which has now been rejected.