Belfast Telegraph

My heart goes out to parents of Ashya King, says mum of tragic Oscar Knox

By Amanda Ferguson

The mother of Oscar Knox has said it breaks her heart to witness how Ashya King's parents are being treated after they removed their five-year-old son from hospital without doctors' consent.

Leona Knox – whose little boy died in May of cancer – said terminally ill Ashya should not be kept from his parents.

Ashya's family took him from Southampton General Hospital last week and travelled to Europe in an attempt to access specialist medical treatment they said they could not get in the UK.

After an international hunt for his parents they were arrested on Saturday in Velez-Malag by Spanish police and are now in custody.

Yesterday, a judge ruled that the couple must be held while the court considers whether to grant Britain an extradition request, the National Court in Madrid said.

"I can't tell you how distressed we are," Leona said.

"I understand the family's motivation. We don't know the full circumstances but they were acting in the best interests of their child. They should not be kept from him."

Leona's husband Stephen also defended Brett King (51), and Naghmeh King (45) and said he would have definitely considered doing what Ashya's parents did to seek treatment abroad.

Ashya is now being treated in a Spanish hospital.

Mr King's mother, Patricia King, told BBC Breakfast it was an "absolute disgrace" that her son and daughter-in-law had been accused of child neglect.

At the weekend, Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead, of Hampshire Constabulary, defended the police's approach.

He said: "We had medical experts telling us that Ashya was in grave danger. Medical experts were saying to us that if he didn't get the care that he needed, there was a potential threat to his life.

"Faced with those circumstances, I make no apology for the police being as proactive as we possibly can to actually find Ashya."

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