A couple who want to take their seriously-ill daughter to a specialist hospital in Italy are preparing for a High Court fight.

Doctors treating Tafida Raqeeb, who turned five on June 10, at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel say there is no chance of recovery.

Bosses at Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the east London hospital, say stopping "life-sustaining treatment" is in the youngster's best interests.

Tafida's mother, solicitor Shelina Begum, and father Mohammed Raqeeb, a construction consultant, want to move her to Gaslini children's hospital in Genoa, Italy, and have organised funding for treatment.

The couple, from Newham, east London, say Gaslini is the Italian equivalent of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and specialists there are willing to treat their daughter.

A judge is expected to make decisions about Tafida's future following a trial at the High Court in London this week.

Mr Justice MacDonald is due to start hearing evidence on Monday.

Solicitor Mathieu Culverhouse, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, who is working with Tafida's family, says there is no evidence that the youngster will be harmed if moved to Italy.

"The heartbroken family do not want to be caught in a situation where the State overrules the parents' good intentions to arrange treatment in a hospital of their choosing for their disabled daughter," he said.

"There is no evidence Tafida will be harmed during transit or abroad and her loving parents should have a legal right to elect to transfer their daughter to another hospital for private medical care."

Barrister Katie Gollop QC, who is leading Barts Health NHS Trust's legal team, told Mr Justice MacDonald at a preliminary hearing last week that Tafida has "very serious, permanent and irreversible damage to her brain".

She said the youngster has been in the Royal London's paediatric intensive care unit for more than four months.

"Since around mid-July, (Tafida's) parents and doctors have not been able to reach agreement about whether her treatment should continue," she said.

"Given the lack of agreement, the trust applied to the Family Division of the High Court for a determination of Tafida's best interests."

She added: "In July, the Gaslini hospital in Italy offered to provide continuing treatment starting immediately.

"Tafida's parents, who wish to move her there, have secured private funding to pay for treatment in Italy."

She said doctors' views on whether treatment should continue had nothing to do with money.

By Brian Farmer, PA