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Relief for Ashya King’s family – but race is on to get him to special clinic

Ashya King and his mother Naghmeh

Ashya King and his mother Naghmeh

THE grandmother of Ashya King has spoken of her relief that his parents have been freed and are set to be reunited with their son.

But Patricia King (pictured) said it is paramount that the five-year-old gets to Prague ‘as soon as possible’ for potentially life-saving treatment.

The 77-year-old was speaking last night to The News following a dramatic day of events that saw Brett and Naghmeh King released from a Spanish prison cell after the Crown Prosecution Service declared it would be dropping the warrant issued for their arrest.

Last night her grandson Danny was driving the 330-mile journey from Malaga to Madrid to pick up his parents so they could return to hospital to be with Ashya.

Mrs King said the parents are ‘very angry’ and said that the stress of the police ordeal had made Naghmeh distraught.

Mrs King, of Shaftesbury Road, Southsea, said: ‘It’s wonderful news.

‘But it still does not help the way they were treated. They have destroyed my daughter-in-law’s health.

‘She’s just been crying the whole time. Danny has gone to pick them up. They are very, very angry.

‘The sooner Ashya gets there (Prague), the more chances he’s got.’

Last night as they walked free from prison, Mr King told reporters: ‘We’re very relieved to be free.’

He added: ‘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.’

There have now been more than 1,000 donations on the family’s online donations page, bringing in almost £20,000 to pay for the proton beam therapy the family want to treat Ashya’s brain tumour.

There is still another £80,000 to go, but Mrs King said she was hopeful they would be able to find the cash quickly, with offers in already from a charity and an American philanthropist.

‘They are coming in everywhere, it’s wonderful,’ said Mrs King.

Mrs King said a European arrest warrant should never have been issued in the first place and criticised Hampshire Constabulary and Southampton General Hospital for the way they had dealt with the situation.

She said: ‘Everyone is trying to backtrack after lying - the police, the hospital.

‘They have not told a word of truth to try and make themselves look good.

‘It’s been lies and then U-turns.’

The CPS, which was considering a possible prosecution over suspected child neglect, launched an immediate review of the case yesterday in light of fresh evidence about the family’s situation.

All further action was dropped yesterday afternoon, hours after a petition with more 246,000 signatures had been handed to 10 Downing Street, calling for Ashya to be reunited with his parents.

The petition was handed in by Ethan Dallas, 16, a close friend of Ashya’s 20-year-old brother Naveed.

Ethan’s father Richard Dallas, from Waterlooville, said he was very proud of his son’s ‘tremendous’ efforts.

Prime minister David Cameron said: ‘I welcome the prosecution against Ashya King’s parents being dropped. It’s important this little boy gets treatment and the love of his family.’

Last night, Ashya’s brother Danny said: ‘I hope that no other family has to go through this again.

‘Ashya is a sick boy and needs his family. Parents and families going through this should not have to go through the extra hassle of being arrested.’

He added: ‘One of the most important things is organising with Prague to see when we can get Ashya there.’

Ashya’s brother Naveed said: ‘When I first heard the news, I wanted to cry, but at the same time I was so happy. We are thrilled to be able to see them, and hopefully soon we will be able go and see Ashya together.’

Naveed told ITV News that progress was being made to get Ashya to the Czech Republic for treatment as soon as possible.

He said: ‘We can now just carry on with what we had planned to give him the proton beam treatment, you know, if it’s the go ahead with all the doctors... to allow Ashya to be treated. As far as I know, it is.’

The Proton Therapy Centre in Prague says the family can go for the therapy now and pay for it at a later date.

Meanwhile, Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt was today set to meet the Home Secretary Theresa May to see how lessons can be learned over the handling of cases similar to Ashya King.

She said: ‘Questions will need to be asked why it didn’t drop the warrant as soon as Ashya was in hospital and I will be following that up.’

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock said: ‘I hope some common sense can prevail in all of this.’

Meanwhile, Mrs King remains seething over the way she feels the family have been treated.

She was angered when she says police came with a warrant to search her Southsea home on Saturday. ‘It’s absolutely disgraceful,’ she said.

‘I have said some horrible things about the police and the hospital and I stand by all of them.’

But both the police and hospital authorities have strongly defended their actions. A CPS spokesman said there would be no further action after evidence showed the Kings did take steps to safeguard Ashya’s health.

Brother’s message

Ashya’s brother Naveed has been posting updates on the family’s situation on internet video site YouTube. Here’s what he said in his most recent instalment, which he uploaded yesterday afternoon, a few hours before his parents Brett and Naghmeh were released from prison:

‘I WOULD like to make this video to thank everyone who’s currently helping in the progress to get my parents back with Ashya and obviously to get them all back with the family.

‘I would just like to say thank you to everyone, of course, so many people are spending so many hours with social media, spreading the word and I would just like to say thank you to everyone and also to Ethan Dallas and his family who are doing so much right now to just spread the word, to sign petitions and also where people can go to help Ashya personally.

‘I would like to thank every single person for helping with that.’

He added: ‘As far as I know Nick Clegg and also [David] Cameron have got involved and I would just like to say thank you to them both for getting involved, but we still need a bigger push to get my parents back with Ashya.’

Naveed said: ‘Of course the fight is not over but people have been curious about where to go for legitimate help because right now there is a lot of people taking advantage of the situation but I would also like to say thank you to everyone who is currently helping with all of this going on, and also before I go I would like to say I have received thousands of emails, thousands of, pretty much, of messages on YouTube, on Facebook – I’m sorry I can’t reply to them all.

‘I am replying to a few of them, just thanking them so much for their help, but please don’t take it personally if I’m not replying to every single person, obviously as you might understand, I’m quite busy doing many things.

‘I do read every single message I get on all these media but I’m having trouble to keep on top of it.

‘But please keep in mind that I am thankful to everyone sending in emails. I am replying to a few of them. I’m not taking preference in any way, just thanking them so much for all the work they are doing.

‘This is pretty much a reply to all those email, just to say thank you so much for all the help that’s been given for Ashya.’

He concluded: ‘Thank you so much for watching and I hope we can continue to fight for Ashya.’

‘Normal family life’ has been shattered

THE Kings are a close-knit family who enjoy a normal life in Portsmouth.

The family, who live in Havelock Road, are regulars at The Holiday Inn in Southsea where they like to take the children swimming.

Before it closed, they were regulars at The Pyramids.

Married for 25 years and now with seven children, Brett and Naghmeh King met when she came over from Iran to study.

Brett, born and raised in Southsea, met Naghmeh while she was studying English at South Downs College in Waterlooville.

Brett runs his own estate agency business, specialising in holiday homes in Spain.

Ashya’s grandmother Patricia King, who used to help with the business, said Ashya’s condition came on suddenly when they were at a family dinner and Brett noticed a problem with one of Ashya’s eyes.

Ashya had also been suffering from a stiff neck.

But his condition deteriorated quickly when the family received a call from his school, asking for him to be picked up as he kept falling over.

Mrs King said the parents had planned to go to Spain to sign the papers for the sale of a holiday home to pay for the proton beam treatment.

She said the family did not want standard radiotherapy as they believed it could cause blindness or deafness.

Tumour successfully removed

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said the tumour was successfully removed on July 24 and a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy should start within four to six weeks to prevent the tumour returning.

It said the treatment would give Ashya a 70-80% chance of survival.

In a statement, it said: ‘During discussions, Ashya’s family indicated that they wished him to undergo proton radiotherapy instead of standard radiotherapy.

‘This option was explored with the family and they were informed that in Ashya’s case there is likely to be no difference in survival between standard radiotherapy and proton radiotherapy and overall no proven significant benefit.

‘Therefore, the Trust considers there is no benefit to Ashya of proton radiotherapy over standard radiotherapy.

‘This view is supported by a national independent expert body.

‘Despite this, the Trust agreed with the family to refer Ashya for proton radiotherapy, as the family had indicated that they could fund it privately.

‘On August 28, 2014, during unsupervised leave on the Trust’s grounds, Ashya’s family chose to remove him without informing or seeking the consent of medical staff.’

The Trust had been concerned for Ashya’s safety for many reasons, and contacted the police, in line with Trust policy, to alert them to the situation.

It added: ‘The Trust will offer any assistance that it can to ensure that Ashya receives urgent treatment at an appropriate hospital.’

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Government was proposing to fly a top oncologist to Spain to advise the family.

He said the NHS offers proton beam therapy for children who need it and had funded 99 patients in the last year, adding: ‘It is not always appropriate, it is not always safe.’

 

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