Wife says it 'seems cruel' to keep alive police officer severely hurt in crash

The wife of a police officer injured in a crash has told a court it seems "cruel" to keep him alive.

Pc Paul Briggs, 43, suffered a bleed on the brain, five fractures in his spine, bruising to internal organs and several other severe injuries in a crash in July last year.

His wife Lindsey, mother to his five-year-old daughter, has asked the court to withdraw the artificial food and hydration keeping him alive.

Giving evidence at the Court of Protection hearing in Manchester for a second time, Mrs Briggs was asked about a scenario in which her husband emerged from his minimally conscious state and was able to enjoy life, but was severely physically disabled and did not regain the mental capacity to understand his condition.

She said: "It just seems so cruel and I think he would say the same."

Mrs Briggs said before her husband's collision, she had undertaken a work placement at a psychiatric hospital where patients had limited mental capacity and had spoken to him about it.

She said: "He didn't think it was an existence. It's not a situation he would think was respectful for himself to be in."

'One of those things we never got round to'

She said the couple had discussed putting their wishes down in writing about a year before Pc Briggs was injured.

She said: "It was one of those things that we never got round to."

Neurology specialist Dr Krystyna Walton told the hearing Pc Briggs might be able to enjoy life again if his condition improved, but was unlikely to have any insight into his previous wishes.

She agreed that if he did emerge from the minimally conscious state, he would be a "completely different Mr Briggs to the Mr Briggs who set off to work the morning of the accident".

Dr Walton said it was "highly unlikely" Pc Briggs, from Wirral, Merseyside, would regain the mental capacity to make decisions such as whether his treatment should continue.

She said he would never be able to control his own movements or undertake tasks such as propelling himself in a wheelchair.

But Dr Walton said she had seen patients in similar conditions who were not unhappy if they were in suitable environments.

She said: "I would consider treatment as being not futile if the individual has a positive experience of life.

"They don't necessarily have to be improving. If that individual is gaining pleasure from what they are doing in their life and experiencing pleasure, then I would not see that treatment as being futile."

Staff at the Walton Centre in Liverpool, where Pc Briggs is being treated, said the Gulf War veteran had showed some signs of improvement and was able to respond to some commands.

Chelsea Rowe, 26, was given a 12-month prison term in July after admitting causing serious injury to Pc Briggs by dangerous driving.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Miss Rowe was driving a Nissan Micra that was in a head-on collision with Pc Briggs's motorcycle on the Birkenhead flyover.

Judge Mr Justice Charles praised the "dignity" and "courage" of Pc Briggs's family in an "extremely difficult" situation.

Referring to evidence given by his wife and mother, Jan Briggs, on Wednesday, he said: "They were plainly speaking truthfully, plainly speaking from the heart and they were plainly speaking with dignity."

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