1 Sep 2014

Ashya’s parents remanded in custody in Spain

The parents of a five-year-old brain cancer patient, who took him out of hospital without doctors’ consent, remain in custody in Spain after they told the court they did not want to be extradited.

A spokesman at the National Court in Madrid said the judge ruled the couple must be held while it considers whether to grant Britain an extradition request. He added the legal process also involves requesting the advice of Spanish doctors and translating legal documents deemed pertinent to the case.

Ashya King’s family took him from Southampton General Hospital on Thursday afternoon and travelled on a ferry to France with the boy and his six siblings before heading south to the Costa del Sol in southern Spain.

The parents, Brett King, 51, and Naghemeh King, 45, were arrested by Spanish police after a European arrest warrant was issued, and police had 72 hours to question them before handing them over to a judge.

The extradition hearing was adjourned until Tuesday.

British police have travelled to Spain to question the couple and yesterday defended their decision to request a European arrest warrant for them on suspicion of neglect.

Ashya with his mother

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead of Hampshire Constabulary said he was aware the police’s approach had created a “significant amount of debate”.

He said: “We had medical experts telling us that Ashya was in grave danger. Medical experts were saying to us that if he didn’t get the care that he needed, there was a potential threat to his life.

“Faced with those circumstances, I make no apology for the police being as proactive as we possibly can to actually find Ashya and ensure that he gets the help he needed”.

But Mr King’s mother, Patricia King, said that they had “gone over the top” after officers used a warrant to search her flat in Southsea, Portsmouth.

‘Gone too far’

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Ms King said she was “extremely worried” over the situation, adding that she was “very, very angry” at the way the investigation had been handled.

She accused authorities of being “cruel”, adding: “They (the authorities) are the ones who are cruel because they have taken poor little Ashya who is dying of a brain tumour and they won’t let the parents, my son and daughter-in-law, they won’t let them see him at all.

“It’s terrible, it is so cruel it is unbelieveable”.

‘Every parent wants the best for their child’

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing that people would be “moved” by the plight of the five-year-old. He added however: “First and foremost, the priority must be that he receives the very best and most appropriate medical care.

“Of course, I am sure that every parent wants to do the best for their child. That is probably the most human of human instincts.”

Ashya’s brother, Naveen, posted a video on YouTube yesterday to disprove the idea that the youngster had been neglected. He showed special food and medical equipment bought for the drive to Spain, and said they also had a new £1,600 wheelchair for Ashya.

He said: “[My father] did constant research to find out information which could help Ashya which the doctors denied. They did not want to hear about his research as they did not believe any of his information that was being given to him, saying that the internet could not be trusted, whilst the internet gave him information that the doctors would not give him.”

A Department of Health spokesperson defended the decision, responding: “Decisions on treatment for individual patients are made by doctors who are best placed to know what their patient needs.

“We are investing £250 million in new proton beam therapy facilities, in Manchester and in London, and more people are being funded to go overseas until facilities are available in the UK.”