Published on 20 Dec 2012 Sections ,

Decision due tomorrow in Neon cancer case

The high court is expected to decide on Friday if seven-year-old cancer sufferer Neon Roberts should receive radiotherapy against his mother’s wishes.

After hearing that Neon’s mother Sally believed there were “credible” alternative treatments available, Mr Justice Bodey indicated that he would make a ruling tomorrow.

Yesterday, Neon had an operation to remove a brain tumour, which Ms Roberts opposed but the court was told “went well”.

Neon’s mother is also opposed to radiotherapy because she believes he would be permanently damaged by this.

Mr Justice Bodey ruled earlier this week that an operation should be carried out after hearing from a specialist that this was urgently needed.

Ian Peddie QC, for Ms Roberts, told Mr Justice Bodey: “The mother has reported, is happily relieved to report, that the operation went well.”

Victoria Butler-Cole, who is representing doctors involved in Neon’s care, said Ms Roberts was proposing “experimental therapies ” which were unproven as alternatives to radiotherapy.


A specialist treating Neon has accepted that there could be side effects to radiotherapy, but said that without this treatment he could die within a few months

Ms Roberts, a 37-year-old New Zealander who lives in Brighton, believes Neon’s future growth and IQ could be adversely affected by radiotherapy. She fears it could “fry” her only son’s brain.

Speaking about surgery, Mr Justice Bodey said earlier this week: “I have reflected on the mother’s concerns and no-one could fail to sympathise. I have weighed up the risks attached with surgery. I am quite satisfied that surgery is in his best interests.” It was Neon’s second operation.

The judge had been due to make a ruling on whether Neon should undergo radiotherapy treatment, but this was delayed after doctors said Neon needed more surgery.

Mr Justice Bodey is now hearing the arguments for and against radiotherapy before making a decision.


Neon’s father Ben, who lives in London and is separated from Ms Roberts, did not object to his son having further surgery. He told the court that he had agreed to radiotherapy treatment, but was “apprehensive”.

The case first hit the headlines in early December when Ms Roberts, then living in Devon, disappeared with Neon. Both were found after a judge ordered a search.

Ms Roberts apologised for vanishing and told Mr Justice Bodey that she had panicked.