Wife of gulf war veteran breaks down in court over his condition

Paul Briggs
Paul Briggs
Have your say

A woman who has asked a court to withdraw life-support treatment for her injured husband broke down in tears as she described his condition.

The Court of Protection heard police officer and Gulf War veteran Paul Briggs, 43, from Merseyside, was in what some doctors described as a “minimally conscious state” following a car crash in July 2015.

The father of one, who is being treated at the Walton Centre in Liverpool, suffered a bleed on the brain, five fractures in his spine, bruising to internal organs and several other severe injuries in the collision.

His wife Lindsey, mother to his daughter Ella, five, told the hearing in Manchester on 
Monday he did not recognise her or respond to her when she went to see him.

She said: “The most important thing to him is independence.

“He is the kind of person who lives for the moment.”

She added: “He was a loving dad to his daughter, he 
would want to bring his daughter up.”

The court heard medical experts predicted that even in a best case scenario, Pc Briggs would remain severely physically disabled.

Mrs Briggs said: “I think he would see it as torture, just as hell, that everything he believes in and he lives for would just be taken away from him.

“He would be living for no reason.”

She said when she looked into his eyes she saw “at best, nothing there, or at worst, distress or suffering”.

But Conrad Hallin, representing the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and the 
Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group, said doctors had noticed some signs of improvement in his condition.

The life expectancy of people in his condition is estimated to be nine to 10 years.

Mrs Briggs told the court her husband had been active, sociable and a “hands on father” before the crash.

Asked what her husband might think of his situation now, she said: “If he is able to think, I think he would be horrified.

“Horrified for his daughter, that she’s scared of him.”

Pc Briggs’s mother, Jan, said: “Every time I see Paul I can’t help thinking about the person he was and it’s very, very difficult to see him as he is now.”

She told the hearing she went to see him at least twice 
a week.

She said: “It is very hard, but I think you just cling to that hope that he may recognise you or give some response.

“You just cling to that hope even though you know that it’s unlikely.”

She added: “I just don’t want him to suffer any more.”

Normally, patients at the centre of Court of Protection 
litigation are not identified because judges aim to protect their privacy.

But Mr Briggs’s accident was widely reported and no-one involved in the litigation has asked for him to be anonymised.

Mr Justice Charles has said hearings will be held 
in public and Mr Briggs can be named.

The hearing is expected to last four days.

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 
which was in a head-on collision with Pc Briggs’s 
motorcycle on the Birkenhead flyover.