The father of terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans has said he still hopes to take his son to Italy for treatment.
Speaking on Friday outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, where Alfie is being cared for, Tom Evans said a jet he had chartered to take his son abroad on Thursday night had been stopped by the hospital.
“Yesterday we attempted to discharge our son Alfie Evans from the care of Alder Hey, legally, by formally withdrawing their duty of care,” he said, as he held up three passports.
“We want to know why they are fighting so hard and what are they trying to hide.”
Earlier, Mr Evans, 21, and partner Kate James, 20, announced they were mounting a legal challenge against the decision to stop their son’s life-support.
On Wednesday, a court ruling set a date for the 23-month-old’s life-support to be switched off.
His parents are preparing to appeal against the decision, with a hearing listed for Monday.
The couple have already lost legal fights in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.
On Thursday night, police were called after hundreds of protesters gathered outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
Footage posted online showed Mr Evans and Ms James receiving huge applause as they joined the crowd of protesters who were chanting the youngster’s name.
In an emotional video from his son’s bedside, Mr Evans said he had a legal document that proves he has the right to remove the 23-month-old from hospital but is being prevented from doing so.
“Alder Hey have phoned the police to stop me from taking my son out of the hospital,” he said.
“This is my son. Look at my healthy, healthy young boy who is undiagnosed, who is certainly not dying.”
Mr Evans encouraged people to come to the hospital to stand outside and “tell them to release our son” in a “quiet protest”.
He added: “They have phoned the police over a child… look how innocent the boy is, look at him, he lies there eagerly waiting for his trip home.
“How can this come to this?”
The couple have expressed hope that specialists at Rome’s Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital will be able to pinpoint what is wrong with the toddler, who is described as being in a “semi-vegetative state”.
Doctors in the UK have been unable to definitively diagnose his rare degenerative neurological condition.
The Pope has previously voiced support for Alfie’s parents, who are both from Liverpool.
On Wednesday, High Court judge Mr Justice Hayden endorsed a plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment.
The judge said details of that plan could not be revealed because Alfie was entitled to privacy at the end of his life.
Merseyside Police confirmed they were at the protest on Thursday night and said access to the hospital had been disrupted.
Assistant Chief Constable Serena Kennedy said: “We were present at Alder Hey Hospital tonight while the hospital and family of Alfie Evans sought clarity from Mr Justice Hayden in relation to the treatment of Alfie.
“Although peaceful, the large protest that took place tonight did cause significant traffic disruption and inconvenience for other people trying to access the hospital.”
She added: “We fully understand what a sensitive and emotional time this is for everyone involved and I would also therefore like to pass on our appreciation for the way in which Alfie’s family were later able to speak to the crowd and offer assurance and calm.”
(c) Sky News 2018: Alfie Evans’ parents fight ruling to end toddler’s life-support