Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

We just want to see our boy, say Kings as jail ordeal ends

By Paul Peachey

The parents of brain tumour patient Ashya King said they were relieved and tired as they left a Spanish prison and prepared to be reunited "as soon as possible" with their five-year-old son.

Brett and Naghmeh King were arrested on Saturday after they took Ashya from Southampton General Hospital without the consent of doctors last Thursday.

They walked free from Soto del Real prison near Madrid after British authorities dropped the case against them.

Mr King told reporters: "We're very relieved to be free."

Speaking in both Spanish and English he said: "We are very grateful to Spain for the support and help we have received.

"We will go to see my son as soon as possible, we have been dying to see his face for so long.

"Thank you to Spain for helping us and thank you to England too."

He added: "I'm sorry we can't say more, I'm very tired."

The decision to release the couple after they spent three nights in jail followed the intervention of David Cameron, who said photographs of little Ashya lying at his father's side reminded him of his own severely disabled son, Ivan – who died in 2009 at the age of six – and the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to stop legal proceedings against the couple.

"I just hope there will be a rapid outbreak of common sense so that the family can be reunited with this young boy," Mr Cameron had said. Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said a leading oncologist would be sent to Spain to advise Brett King (51) and his wife Naghemeh (45) on the best treatment for their son.

The couple took Ashya to Spain with his six siblings after disputing medical advice that he should not be given advanced radiotherapy.

The parents were arrested on Saturday and held in custody, while other family members were barred from seeing Ashya in hospital.

The family's flight across Europe, and a series of heart-rending messages and videos posted on social media, attracted public support and promises of funds for treatment at a clinic in the Czech Republic, which offers a form of proton radiotherapy not generally available in Britain.

At a court hearing on Monday, a team from Southampton General Hospital maintained that the best option for Ashya was for radiotherapy and chemotherapy in Britain.

But they said they would not stand in the family's way if they secured the funds for treatment in Prague.

Ashya's brother Danny told BBC News that he had been speaking to his parents by phone.

"They are just happy that they can go and see Ashya," he said.

Asked if Ashya would go to Prague, he said: "I don't know, because we've had different offers from treatment centres in America, my parents haven't been able to look at that. At the end of the day it's their decision which centre they will go to to get that treatment."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph