Belfast Telegraph

Billy Caldwell's mum says Home Office signed son's death warrant after cannabis oil seized

By Mark Edwards

Northern Ireland boy Billy Caldwell has had his first epileptic seizure for more than 300 days after cannabis oil was confiscated at Heathrow Airport.

Billy, who is 12-years-old, has epilepsy and requires medicinal cannabis oil to help prevent seizures, and his mother Charlotte Caldwell credits the treatment with saving his life.

His family claim that ever since Billy started taking the oil, his seizures have stopped.

His mother, Charlotte, from Co Tyrone, had travelled to Canada with her son to get the cannabis oil. However, it was confiscated at the airport when they returned after she openly declared it to customs.

Speaking to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on This Morning on Tuesday, Charlotte revealed that her son had had his first seizure at 1am- just after his medication ran out.

She said: "A minister who is not medically qualified has actually stopped my little boys anti-epileptic medication. There is no doctor in our country or any country in the world that would actually do that because that is not medical protocol."

Charlotte Caldwell and her son Billy at Heathrow Airport (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

She told the show that Billy had a 30 second seizure.

"Nick Hurd [Home Office minister] has actually signed Billy's death warrant and he is not a doctor," she said. "He is not medically trained. The doctor in Canada prescribed this as an anti-epileptic medication, that is what it is for Billy. It is nothing else."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood MLA said his party is fulled behind the Caldwell family in their right to get Billy the medicine he so desperately needs.

He said: “The battle for Billy’s lifesaving drug could be avoided if only the Home Office would let common sense prevail.

“As a parent I can only imagine the distress Charlotte Caldwell is going through as doors continue to close on her as she does everything in her power to keep her son alive.

“The medicine to alleviate Billy’s epileptic fits should be readily available to him and not the subject of political dispute around the illegalities of drug misuse.

“I would urge the Home Office to reconsider its decision to allow Billy’s GP to reinstate his prescription as a matter of urgency, to alleviate his pain, and to allow him to continue living his life to the fullest.”

Billy Caldwell with his mother Charlotte

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “We are sympathetic to the difficult and rare situation that Billy and his family are faced with.

‘While we recognise that people with debilitating illnesses are looking to alleviate their symptoms, it is important that medicines are thoroughly tested to ensure they meet rigorous standards so that doctors and patients are assured of their efficacy, quality and safety.”

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