A Dorset mother who wants her nine-year-old son to be allowed to pass away peacefully has added her voice to the right-to-die debate.

Victoria Townsend believes her son William has suffered enough since he had a devastating brain haemorrhage, leaving him severely brain damaged, at just three-weeks-old.

The youngster is completely paralysed, partially-sighted, deaf and unable to breathe or swallow unaided. He cannot recognise his own family and needs specialist nursing care at the £1,400 a day Children’s Trust in Tadworth.

His 46-year-old mother, Victoria, lives in Sturminster Newton. She is the founder of charity Breathe On UK, set up to help families in a similar position.

Mrs Townsend spoke out this week as the debate continued about the future of a baby boy, whose mum wants him to be allowed to die and whose father wants him to be kept alive.

The one-year-old, who has not been named, is at the centre of a High Court legal battle. He has complex disabilities and what has been described as “a distressing daily existence.”

Mrs Townsend said: “I really do not want William to undergo any more invasive surgery if at all possible and do not want to put him through any more than is absolutely necessary.

“He’ll never leave my thoughts, he’ll never leave my prayers and he will never leave my heart. My biggest hope is that William will take the decision away from us.

“Ideally he will go to sleep and that will be it. I don’t want him to be imprisoned in his body any more.”

However, staff at the Children’s Trust said they believe William has a reasonable quality of life and his carer said: “He definitely experiences happiness and interest, he enjoys his daily routine and going to school.”

And Trust chief executive Andrew Ross added: “We do not want to go dpown the slippery slope where we are determining the death of another human being, even if that is by doing nothing.”

At the High Court, a doctor said the baby boy, known only as RB, is living on a “knife edge”.

He added: “The technology allows us to ventilate these children for the entirety of their existence. Just because the technology exists doesn’t mean it’s right to use it – that’s what this discussion is about.”