The parents of five-year-old Ashya King, who took him from hospital without doctors’ consent, have been arrested in Spain as the boy has been taken to hospital.
Hampshire Constabulary confirmed this evening that the youngster, who has a brain tumour and was taken by his parents from hospital against medical advice, has been located.
Ashya was being treated in Southampton General Hospital for a brain tumour when his family took him and left the country on a ferry to France.
The youngster, a long-term patient at the hospital, was there after undergoing extensive surgery – the latest was just seven days ago.
But an international search for the Southsea boy involving Interpol was launched after his parents took him out of hospital on Thursday afternoon and, together with his six brothers and sisters, caught a ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg.
Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead of Hampshire Constabulary tonight revealed the boy’s parents Brett King, 51, and Naghemeh King, 45, had been arrested at 10pm local time after Spanish police stopped the family’s vehicle.
‘We don’t have many details on Ashya’s condition at this point in time but what we do know is that he was showing no visible signs of distress,’ he said.
‘Ashya has now been taken to a hospital and his parents have been arrested and taken to a police station.
‘There are no winners in this situation. I’ve said all along this must be a terrible distressing time for Ashya’s family and I stand by that now.
‘I think it’s been a dreadful period for them but thankfully we have found Ashya.
‘Our number one aim has to be to ensure the child gets the welfare that he needs.
‘To that end we have contacted Southampton General Hospital and made sure they have the details of the medical team that is now looking after Ashya in Spain.
‘We will be sending a team to Malaga in the morning to continue the investigation from this point onwards.
‘It’s too soon to say when Ashya will come home, it will depend on his medical condition.
‘His parents were arrested on the grounds of neglect. We now need to speak to those parents at an appropriate time to see what their motivation was for taking Ashya.’
The Kings boarded a cross-Channel ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg with Ashya’s six siblings at 4pm on Thursday and arrived in France at 8pm local time.
Police were alerted more than six-and-a-half hours later - sparking a major international search.
A number of sightings were reported of the family, from Southsea, who were travelling in a grey Hyundai van.
Earlier today the family posted a video on YouTube in which Ashya’s father said the boy was doing well and explained that the family had decided to take him out of hospital to seek a cancer treatment not available on the NHS.
Sitting on a bed with Ashya in his arms, Mr King said: ‘We were most disturbed today to find that his face is all over the internet and newspapers and we have been labelled as kidnappers putting his life at risk, neglect.’
Mr King said there had been a lot of talk about the machine used to feed Ashya and whether they could make it work.
Police had warned that the family might not be able to work the machine and that it would run out of battery.
‘As you can see there’s nothing wrong with him, he is very happy actually since we took him out of hospital,’ Mr King said.
‘He has been smiling a lot more, he has very much been interacting with us.
‘But I just wanted to say very quickly why we took him out of the hospital.
‘The surgeon did a wonderful job on his head that took out the brain tumour, completely they reckon.
‘But straight away afterwards he went into what’s called posterior fossa syndrome, which means very limited moving or talking or doing anything.’
Mr King said he had spoken to specialists following Ashya’s surgery and had requested proton beam treatment, which was not available on the NHS.
‘Proton beam is so much better for children with brain cancer,’ he said. ‘It zones in on the area, whereby normal radiation passes right through his head and comes out the other side and destroys everything in his head.
‘We pleaded with them for proton beam treatment. They looked at me straight in the face and said with his cancer - which is called medulloblastoma - it would have no benefit whatsoever.
‘I went straight back to my room and looked it up and the American sites and French sites and Switzerland sites where they have proton beam said the opposite, it would be very beneficial for him.
‘Then I spoke to them again, I wrote a letter which he never responded to, saying OK - I will sell my property in order to pay for the proton beam.’