New agony for Ashya King’s parents as they arrive at Malaga hospital

Ashya King
Ashya King
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Bishop James Jones pictured in 2015.

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Ashya King’s parents today arrived at the Spanish hospital where he is being treated to face new heartache.

The five-year-old brain tumour patient’s father Brett arrived fearing he would be stopped from seeing him for the first time since he and wife Naghmeh were arrested on Saturday.

After initial confusion, the family were able to see Ashya, but a court order has prevented them from moving Ashya - who they want to start proton beam treatment in a Czech clinic - before getting the consent of a British judge.

Ashya was temporarily made a ward of court last week.

But at a hearing in the High Court yesterday Mr Justice Baker expressed concerns that the child was separated from his parents and said he hoped the parents would take part in the next hearing.

No objections were raised during the hearing to the couple seeing their son and this afternoon court officials said they were trying to impress upon Spanish authorities that there was nothing in the order that should prevent Mr and Mrs King seeing their son.

It appeared though that the Kings would be powerless to move their son out of the hospital without the consent of the British courts.

A statement by Michael Duncan, senior press officer at the Judicial Office said: ‘Ashya is a ward of court and no decision about his future can be taken without the court’s approval.

‘At the hearing on 2nd September, the judge adjourned the case until Monday 8th September to allow the parents an opportunity to be represented and put forward their proposals for Ashya’s treatment. If there is a dispute between the parents and the medical authorities as to the right course of treatment, the court will make the decision, probably at the hearing on Monday.

‘If the parties are in agreement, the court will endorse that agreement, and the judge indicated in court that he will be available at all times to give his approval if an agreement is reached before Monday so that treatment can be started without further delay.

Speaking to a throng of media as he arrived at the hospital, Mr King said: “Portsmouth have taken the custody away, they won’t let me see my child.

“Yesterday they served papers on me to take away the custody so what the Prime Minister said, and the Minister of Health, hasn’t worked because me and my wife don’t have custody.”

Asked what his next move would be, he said: “To be arrested, I think.”

Earlier, the Southsea couple spoke of their anguish at being separated from the sick boy while they were held in a prison near Madrid.

As they prepared for an emotional reunion with the five-year-old brain tumour patient, Naghmeh King said she had been “crying and crying” as she described the torment of being unable to help her son from the jail cell near Madrid where she and husband Brett have been detained since they were arrested on Saturday.

Mr King said his heart was “aching” to see Ashya again and hit out at their treatment since they removed him from Southampton General Hospital almost a week ago, saying they had been “treated like terrorists”.

The couple were freed from Soto del Real prison last night after British authorities abandoned their attempts to extradite them amid a public backlash.

Mrs King told the BBC: “What could I do in a prison cell?

“I was just praying so I could be reunited with him again. All I could do was just cry and pray.”

She added: “I just want to wet his mouth because he can’t drink through his mouth, I want to brush his teeth, I want to turn him side to side every 15 minutes because he can’t move.”

Her husband said: “I’m just missing my son so much. I’ve got to see my son’s face.”

The couple held a short press conference in Seville before setting off for Malaga, where Ashya is being treated.

His voice breaking with emotion, Mr King described their desperation to be with the child, saying he “hasn’t got too many months to live”.

Mr King said: “When we were in prison there wasn’t a minute that went by without our hearts hurting to see Ashya. My wife spent most of the time crying in the cell.

“I was going to ask to move cells because I was worried and I couldn’t listen to my wife crying. When you are locked up you can’t do anything.”

Mr King described the uncertainty they faced about their son’s condition after they were detained.

“We didn’t know what was happening because they arrested us and directly they took our son away,” he said.

“We said ‘You don’t even really know what’s wrong with him. He needs therapy on his legs, on his arms. You need to turn him from side to side’.

“But they’re not interested. They just want to take him away from us.”

He added: “Hopefully now we can see our son, we can be together and show love to him because without that there’s no purpose to life.

“We just want to help my son get through this bad time because he hasn’t got too many months to live and we are locked away in a cell. No-one can do anything.”

As the couple left Seville, Mr King told Sky News that he and his wife had been handcuffed and “treated like terrorists”.

He said: “I would be happy to spend years in prison rather than my son being given treatment that’s going to kill him or disable him for the rest of his life.”

He said he would do the same thing again if it meant getting his son the right treatment.

He said: “My son’s worth everything, worth me going to prison, worth everything because they were going to kill him in England or turn him into a vegetable.”

Mr King described the events since they removed Ashya from Southampton General Hospital as “not real”.

He claimed he had previously informed the hospital about his plans to seek proton therapy for his son but kept the date that he intended to take him secret for fear he would be stopped.

He said: “I said to them ‘I’m going. The NHS is not going to pay, I’ve got to sort this out for my son’.”

But he claimed he could not disclose when he planned to remove Ashya because he had previously been “threatened”.

“I couldn’t actually tell them the day because they had threatened me previously,” he said.

“When I just asked ‘What is cancer? How did my son get it? Is there any alternatives?’, straight away they said if I ask any more questions the right for me to make a decision would be taken away from me because they get an immediate court paper to say that they have right over my child.

“So from that moment I had so much fear to mention anything to them because they could have stopped my son getting any treatment and just forcing this very strong treatment on him.

“I couldn’t tell them when because otherwise they might have stopped me. I was in fear.”

The family went to Spain to visit their holiday home with the intention of selling it before travelling to Prague for the proton therapy.

Mr King said: “When I saw there were police outside we panicked, we didn’t know what to do so we just went towards Malaga because my wife said there was a good hospital.

“Someone said to us that someone has called the police. I said...’this is it we are going to face this because I don’t know why they are after us’.

“I said ... ‘we will stay here and sort this out’ but then they arrested me.”

Speaking outside of Southampton General Hospital, Dr Peter Wilson, chief paediatrician, told Sky News that the family had made it clear that they would like to take Ashya to Prague but that the hospital had no idea the family had planned to leave.

He said the family were not keen on parts of the treatment which had been suggested and that there were discussions about different forms of treatment.

He said: “We had made it very clear what could be offered on the NHS.

“While were we having those discussions, the family made it very clear they would like to go to Prague.

“At no stage did they say they were going to take Ashya and go to Prague.”

He said that when they found he was missing from the hospital they were “slightly surprised” and said there was information they had not been able to share with the media which had “made us very worried for Ashya’s safety”.

Asked whether they had threatened Mr and Mrs King with an order which would have taken away their right to make decisions about their son’s care, he said: “Absolutely not. We absolutely disagree with that statement.”

He said there had been a discussion where the family had asked specifically what would happen if they refused the treatment being discussed, and that doctors had told them court orders could be made in “exceptional circumstances”.

Dr Wilson added: “At no stage did we say we would threaten them with a court order if they refused treatment.”

David Cameron told MPs that decisions taken in Ashya’s case were “not correct”.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, he said: “To be fair to the authorities involved in the case of Ashya King, they all want to do the best for the child. That’s what they are thinking of.”

Earlier the Proton Therapy Centre in the Czech Republic claimed it had been sent Ashya’s medical records and believed the technique was suitable for him.

Dr Jiri Kubes, head of proton therapy at the clinic in Prague, said: “So, Ashya shall go for proton therapy to the Czech Republic. However, prior to this he will need to return to England first.”

A fundraising page set up to help pay for the treatment has so far raised more than £21,000.