1. ITV Report

Alfie Evans' father asks supporters to 'return to every day lives' as he aims to 'build bridge' with hospital

The father of sick toddler Alfie Evans has said he will work with doctors to provide his son with the "dignity and comfort he needs" - as he urged supporters to go home.

He thanked supporters but asked them to "return back to your everyday lives" as he and partner Kate James work on forming a relationship with Alder Hey Hospital.

The family are understood to have given up their legal battle in a bid to take their terminally ill out of hospital.

Speaking outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool on Thursday, Mr Evans, 21, said he wants to form a relationship with Alder Hey, "build a bridge and walk across it."

On Wednesday, he and Ms James failed in an 11th-hour attempt to take the 23-month-old to a foreign hospital for treatment. Now the family aim to take the sick toddler home.

Alfie Evans was taken off life-support treatment on Monday. Credit: Alfies Army

Mr Evans told reporters: "We are very grateful and we appreciate all the support we have received from around the world, including from our Italian and Polish supporters, who have dedicated their time and support to our incredible fight.

"We would now ask you to return back to your everyday lives and allow myself, Kate and Alder Hey to form a relationship, build a bridge and walk across it."

He thanked the children's hospital at "every level for their dignity and professionalism during what must be an incredibly difficult time for them too."

He said: "Together we recognise the strains (that) recent events have put upon us all and we now wish for privacy for everyone concerned.

"In Alfie's interests we will work with his treating team on a plan that provides our boy with the dignity and comfort he needs."

He added that there would be no further statements issued or interviews given.

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Alfie, who doctors say has a degenerative neurological condition, was taken off life-support treatment on Monday.

Mr Evans told reporters: “He’s been off a ventilator for three days now, there’s been no deterioration.

“He hasn’t woke up, he’s still a little bit weak, but what we ask for is to go home to sustain his life.”

He accused doctors at the hospital of being “wrong” about their diagnosis: “Alfie lives, comfortably, happily, without ventilation, without any form of ventilation.

“That must be enough for you now to consider that Alfie may prove you wrong.”

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Mr Evans said Alfie was “not suffering” and not in pain.

He said: “As I sit next to Alfie’s bedside, every second of every day, it encourages me more and more that he will live for ‘x’ amount of months, possibly years.”

Police remained outside the hospital on Thursday, after Alder Hey said its staff had experienced “unprecedented personal abuse”.

In an open letter, the hospital chairman Sir David Henshaw and chief executive Louise Shepherd: “Having to carry on our usual day-to-day work in a hospital that has required a significant police presence just to keep our patients, staff and visitors safe is completely unacceptable.”

Alfie has been at the centre of a life-or-death treatment battle, with his parents trying to block doctors from withdrawing life support in a sometimes acrimonious six-month dispute which has seen a series of court battles.