Police warn: Time is running out for Ashya King

A family picture of Ashya in hospital
A family picture of Ashya in hospital

Malicious letters detailing allegations against man being sent to homes in Portsmouth

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Police today urged the parents of missing Portsmouth boy Ashya King to take him to a hospital immediately.

Brett and Naghemeh King are believed to be in France after they took the five-year-old boy, who has a brain tumour, from Southampton General Hospital yesterday.

Assistant chief constable of Hampshire Constabulary Chris Shead said: ‘Time is running out for this little boy. We need to find this little boy and find him urgently.

‘Ashya is in a wheelchair and is fed through a tube. The feeding system is battery operated and that battery will run out today.

‘If he doesn’t receive urgent medical care, or the wrong treatment is given, his condition will become life-threatening.’

Listen to the full police statement here

The police say they do not know what the motivation is and so not believe there has been any arguments between the family and hospital staff.

He appealed for Ashya’s parents to take him to a hospital as soon as possible.

The police were first informed of the disappearance at 8.35pm

ACC Shead continued: ‘We have been liaising with the authorities in France.’

He said specialist intelligence and search officers working on the case from Hampshire had already gone to France.

The assistant chief constable revelaed that Ashya last underwent surgery seven days ago.

When asked if the family is Jehovah’s Witness they said religion was not a concern and they are concentrating on finding them.

Mr Shead said the six-and-a-half-hour gap between Ashya being taken from hospital and police being called is “something we need to look at and needs to be considered further down the line”.

He finished his statement by making a direct appeal to the boy’s parents.

He said: ‘Please take Ashya to the nearest hospital immediately.

‘We understand that this must be an awful time for you but the most important thing is to get the proper medical care for Ashya.’

When asked if the family were known to the police he said not that he was aware of any prior knowledge and when asked if Ashya was in care he said: ‘as far as we know Ashya is part of a normal family. He’s got a serious illness and he was in hospital because of his ongoing medical condition.’

He added Ashya is believed to still be in France.

He added that there was a possibility cameras on the continent could pick up the family’s number plate.

He said: ‘I’m led to believe there’s a capability to that but the extent of that capability I’m not sure.’

Police today issued a CCTV picture of Ashya’s dad wheeling his son from the hospital.

Ashya’s parents boarded a cross-Channel ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg at 4pm yesterday with his six siblings and arrived in France at 8pm local time, police have said.

The family, who live in St David’s Road, Southsea, are travelling in a grey-coloured Hyundai I800 Style CRDI, registration KP60 HWK, and are believed to be still in France.

Ashya is likely to be in a wheelchair or buggy, he cannot communicate verbally and is immobile, a police spokesman said.

Hampshire Constabulary said the force was working with its counterparts in France to locate the family “as soon as possible”.

Asked if the family had any ties on the continent, Mr Shead said that officers were working on this as a line of inquiry.

He said that Ashya’s brothers and sisters were aged between three and 23.

Ashya’s brother Naveed published an emotive video on YouTube after doctors made the brain tumour diagnosis.

An expert today told of the stress Ashya King’s family would have been under.

Family pictures show the bedside vigil for Ashya at Southampton General Hospital.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Hampshire Constabulary as soon as possible on 101 quoting Operation Aquilion.

From outside the UK call 0044 1962 841534 and in France call the emergency 112 number.

See the full police press conference here