Alfie Evans' parents lose latest legal battle
The parents of 23-month-old Alfie Evans have lost a second appeal request for the Supreme Court to hear their case.
Tom Evans and Kate James, who are both in their early 20s, made another application to the Supreme Court after losing a second fight at the Court of Appeal.
But justices dismissed their application after judges approved a plan for withdrawing treatment and bringing Alfie's life to an end.
The justices, giving reasons for their decision, said it was a "desperately sad case".
They said: "It is sad principally, of course, for Alfie's parents, for they love their little boy dearly and want to do all in their power to keep him alive.
"But it is also sad for the people who have been keeping Alfie alive for so long, the doctors and nurses who are treating him in Alder Hey Hospital.
"Those of us who have to deal with this case dispassionately as a point of law can feel for their sadness."
They added: "Alfie looks like a normal baby, but the unanimous opinion of the doctors who have examined him and the scans of his brain is that almost all of his brain has been destroyed.
"No-one knows why. But that it has happened and is continuing to happen cannot be denied.
"It means that Alfie cannot breathe, or eat, or drink without sophisticated medical treatment.
"It also means that there is no hope of his ever getting better."
A statement issued by Alder Hey said: "Today the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the High Court and the Court of Appeal confirming that 'it has been conclusively determined that it is not in Alfie's best interests to continue to receive treatment or to travel abroad for treatment'.
"Alfie's parents have done everything in their power to do what they think is best for him even though that is contrary to the views of the doctors."
Three appeal court judges earlier this week endorsed a plan drawn up by doctors.
However, they said treatment should continue until Supreme Court justices had made a decision.
Judges said details of the plan could not be made public because Alfie was entitled to privacy as his life came to a close.
The couple have already lost one round of legal battles, in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.
Mr Justice Hayden ruled in February that doctors at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents, after 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 accepted medical evidence that showed further treatment was futile.
Alfie's parents want to move their son to a hospital in Rome and 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 and Court of Appeal judges upheld his decisions.
Supreme Court justices and European Court of Human Rights' judges refused to intervene.
Alfie's parents also argued that he was being wrongly "detained" at Alder Hey and had 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 common law that possibly dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. Mr Justice Hayden dismissed that habeas corpus claim last week and appeal judges upheld his decision.
Alfie, born on 9 May 2016, is in a "semi-vegetative state" and has a degenerative neurological condition doctors have not definitively diagnosed.
Specialists say his brain has been "eroded".