Ashya King’s family waiting for council response before returning to UK

Ashya and his mother Naghmeh King before his therapy in Prague
Ashya and his mother Naghmeh King before his therapy in Prague
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THE parents of Ashya King say they are waiting to hear what the authorities say about them before they decide whether to return to the UK.

Brett and Naghmeh King, of Southsea, are currently in their holiday home in Spain with five-year-old Ashya – who is now cancer free – but want to return to the UK.

The family fled from Southampton General Hospital in August when, against doctors’ advice, they took Ashya from his hospital bed, where he was recovering after having a brain tumour removed.

The family headed to Spain and then to Prague for proton beam therapy, which is not available in the UK.

A European arrest warrant in September led to the parents being arrested and placed in a Spanish prison for several days.

Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock has written to Southampton and Portsmouth city councils, asking for assurances that the family will be helped.

In his letter to Stephen Kitchman, Portsmouth’s head of children’s social care, he said: ‘I am writing to you on behalf of the King family.

‘I have a response from Southampton making it quite clear that they will do everything they can to help put the King family in touch with another organisation that would be able to help Ashya and his family deal with the problems they are facing.

‘However there is a significant impediment about their return because they are extremely nervous about what the city council’s attitude will be.

‘I do not want to see this family left isolated and alone in Europe wondering whether or not everything will be all right if they came back to the UK. They do not want to see their son in any way going through the same situation as before.

‘I would just like to see a solution found where this family can return happily to the city and for Ashya to receive the treatment he requires so they can move forward with their lives.’

The council said it is yet to receive the letter, but the authority’s solicitor Michael Lawther said: ‘The wardship order has been discharged and the council is no longer involved in court proceedings. Therefore it’s not a council matter whether the King family return to the UK.’

Speaking to The News, Mr King said: ‘We are waiting to hear back from Mr Hancock’s last letter to Portsmouth City Council.’

The parents said they are afraid what will happen after Mr King was stopped at border control in Gatwick in November.