THE brother of a boy battling a brain tumour has defended the actions of his parents for taking him out of hospital without medical consent.
Ashya King, five, has a brain tumour, and was taken by his parents Brett, 51, Naghemeh, 45, from Southampton General Hospital, where they took a ferry to France and drove to Spain.
Ashya is currently at the Materno Infantile Hospital in Malaga.
His parents have been arrested for neglecting their child, but Ashya’s brother Naveed has defended his parent’s decision to go to Europe to find better treatment.
But in a new video blog posted on YouTube, the 20-year-old said reports his parents had been arrested while driving the family car were inaccurate.
He said the family were spotted together while filming a video of Ashya.
He also said: ‘He (Ashya) was obviously happy, he wasn’t in any way in any danger and he was not neglected at all.’
Referring to concerns expressed by police over the machine used to feed Ashya, Naveed held up packages of food to the camera and said the family had bought a ‘box load’.
He also said that the family had purchased a brand new wheelchair costing up to £1,600.
Naveed added: ‘While Ashya was in hospital for the first week, my father travelled in the morning, really early in the morning, came back late at night, sometimes reaching past midnight, and while he was home he did research upon hours, sometimes did not even sleep.
‘He did constant research to find out information that could help Ashya, which the doctors deny.
‘They did not want to hear anything about his research, as they did not believe any of this information that was being given to him, saying that the internet could not be trusted, while the internet gave him information that the doctors would not give him.’
Ashya’s oldest brother Danny has also defended his parents and said they just wanted the best for the five-year-old.
‘My parents are not kidnappers,’ he told The Daily Telegraph. ‘They just want the best for our brother Ashya with an alternative type of treatment to the one he was receiving at the hospital in England. We hope they let them go free soon.’
In an earlier video, also released on YouTube, Mr Brett said the reason he had taken Ashya out of hospital was so he could have a certain type of treatment called proton beam therapy to treat his medulloblastoma.
He said he felt specialists at Southampton were not listening to his repeated requests for information and that if he continued questioning the hospital, it would seek an emergency protection order.
He said: ‘They were going to get a protection order which meant in his deepest, darkest hour I wouldn’t be there to look after him, and neither would my wife – they would prevent us from entering the ward.
‘That’s such a cruel system I decided I had to start looking at the proton beam myself.’
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said it had offered Ashya’s family access to a second opinion on the boy’s treatment and offered to help with organising treatment abroad. A spokesman said: ‘Our priority has always been Ashya’s welfare and we are delighted that he has been found.
‘We are now working closely with colleagues in Malaga to ensure he receives the essential medical support he needs.
‘We are aware of the comments made online by his father. Throughout Ashya’s admission we have had conversations about the treatment options available to him and we had offered the family access to a second opinion, as well as assistance with organising treatment abroad.
‘We understand how distressing this situation is for everyone involved, particularly Ashya’s family.
‘We will continue to do what we can to support them and assist the police in providing any information they require.’
Meanwhile the grandmother of Ashya said she was angry at the way the police have treated her family. Patricia King, mother of Brett, said: ‘I’m very angry, I think it’s been taken too far, much too far.
‘Brett couldn’t believe it, that Ashya’s pictures were all over the papers and they said he’d kidnapped his own son. He’s really upset.
‘The police have talked to me and my flat’s been search. Two policewomen and a police man came to my home with a warrant and searched my flat. I’m disgusted.’
Yesterday video footage showed the Kings being bundled into a police car, as Mrs King repeated the phrase “best treatment for Ashya”.
The couple are being held in custody and officers have a maximum of 72 hours to question them before handing the matter over to the court.
Police defend action taken over the case
AS THE parents of Ashya King face court today, Hampshire police is standing by the actions it took to track them down.
Despite no criminal act being committed, Brett King, 51, and his wife Naghemeh King, 45, of Southsea, have been arrested for maltreatment of a child.
They are in Spanish police custody following an international search for the couple.
Now police have come under criticism from the public in the way matters have been handled.
Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead, of Hampshire Constabulary, said: ‘I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the search.
‘Our own teams, the National Crime Agency, all police agencies in Europe and, specifically, both police agencies in Spain – the Spanish National Police and the Guardia Civil.
‘All of our efforts resulted from explicit medical advice that Ashya’s life was in danger.’
Assistant Chief Constable Shead said he was aware of the comments made in public.
He added: ‘I’m very aware there are comments about the rights and wrongs of our approach but when we are told by experts that any child’s life is at risk we will make no apologies for being as proactive as possible.
‘We now need to properly understand the parents’ motivation and engage with colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service, who would lead on managing the extradition proceedings.
‘It is only when we have done this that we will make a decision on what happens next.
‘For that reason this is the last statement that we will be making until further notice.’
Brain professor urges family to speak to specialists
THE head of a Portsmouth brain tumour research facility is urging the King family to seek further specialist advice.
Professor Geoff Pilkington, of the charity Brain Tumour Research, has given the advice and explains what proton beam therapy (PBT) is.
He said: ‘We now know Ashya has medulloblastoma, but there are four sub-types of this cancer.
‘Previously everyone was getting the same treatment.
‘Over the age of three years and you would get radiotherapy.
‘But the younger ones then went on to have problems later on in life because of high toxicity levels from the radiotherapy.
‘This could be problems with behaviour, with learning or sexual.
‘Some of the sub-types can be treated with PBT.
‘This focuses radiation on the tumour, without causing too much damage to the brain.
‘We are currently developing it here in the UK, but there are centres in Canada, America and Germany.
‘I would urge the family to speak to specialists in one of those countries to find out more.’
And a Gosport mum said she feels the pain of the King family after her son needed PBT last year. Sam John, 17, pictured, went to America for the treatment and is now said to be doing well.
His parents started a massive fundraising drive when they initially thought the NHS would not pay for the £100,000 treatment.
But after taking a closer look the NHS agreed to pay for the treatment.
Vicky, 40, said: ‘This must be so difficult for the parents and my heart really goes out to them.
‘They obviously just want what’s best for their little boy.
‘I don’t know the full situation so can’t comment on whether PBT is for them.
‘But it’s clear they are acting in the interests of their little boy.
‘We wanted the best situation for Sam, and this time last year we were doing as much as we could to raise money and get Sam to America.’
PBT is a precise form of radiotherapy, which is used to help treat cancers.
It works by using charged particles instead of X-rays to deliver a dose of radiotherapy for patients which is more precise to the tumour, and causes minimal damage to surrounding tissue.
An advisory group has recommended there are around 1,500 patients in England each year – including 250 children – for whom PBT would be the best treatment.
Centres are being planned to open around the country, including London.