'She doesn't deserve this': European court rejects case to save critically-ill baby

Indi Gregory Credit: PA Media

A campaign group supporting the parents of a critically-ill baby from Derbyshire, says a bid to take a life-support treatment case to a European court has failed.

Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth had lost legal fights in London and wanted judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in Strasbourg in France, to consider their daughter Indi Gregory’s case.

A High Court judge recently ruled that doctors could lawfully limit the treatment they provide to eight-month-old Indi Gregory.

Her parents, Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth from Ilkeston, had failed to persuade appeal judges to overturn that decision.

Two Court of Appeal judges on Monday concluded that Indi's parents did not have an arguable case, and no "real prospect" of winning an appeal.

Dean Gregory

A spokesman for Indi's parents said lawyers had made an application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg in France.

Indi's parents are being supported by campaign group the Christian Legal Centre.

A spokesman for the centre said lawyers had filed an application to the ECHR early on Thursday.

He said Indi's parents initially wanted a European judge to "prohibit" the withdrawal of "life-sustaining treatment" until the EHCR had considered the case.

Mr Justice Peel had heard evidence about Indi's condition at a private trial in the Family Division of the High Court.

He heard that Indi, who was born on February 24 2023, had mitochondrial disease, a genetic condition that saps energy, and is being treated at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Specialists say she is dying, and bosses at the hospital's governing trust asked Mr Justice Peel to rule that doctors could lawfully limit treatment provided to her.

Barrister Emma Sutton KC, who led Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's legal team, told Mr Justice Peel that Indi was critically ill, and had an exceptionally rare and devastating neurometabolic disorder.

She said the treatment Indi received caused pain and was futile.

Mr Justice Peel had considered evidence behind closed doors, but he allowed journalists to attend the hearing and ruled that Indi, her parents and the hospital could be named in reports.

He ruled that medics treating Indi and a guardian appointed to represent her interests could not be named.

Indi Gregory Credit: PA Media

The Christian Legal Centre spokesman said in a statement:

"After exhausting domestic remedies, the family of Indi Gregory has this morning filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights asking for 'interim measures...' before 4pm today to prohibit withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment until the ECHR has considered the case."

"To us, Indi is everything"

Speaking before the ECHR decision, Mr Gregory, Indi's father said in a statement:

"The whole experience of the court system is completely one-sided.

"From day one all we ever wanted was for Indi to have a fair trial and to be allowed to have an independent specialist, not affiliated with the NHS, to provide expert evidence.

"What you would think is a fair and basic wish and right, however, has been denied to us and we have not been given that opportunity."

"To us, Indi is everything, and is worth the cost and fighting for to give her a chance to live.

"As parents we believe it is our duty to do everything we can to protect our child.

"Claire and I are both heartbroken that the courts and NHS are not doing more to help us.

"It shouldn't be anybody's right to end somebody's life".

"Specialists are willing to help"

After the ECHR decision, Dean said:

"Everyone says she's beautiful, lovely long eyelashes. She's just a joy to be around, she doesn't deserve this. She shouldn't be discriminated against just because she's got disabilities.

"Specialists and experts worldwide we've managed to get hold of are willing to help, but we just weren't given that chance".