herald

Sunday 20 January 2019

All I could do is cry in my cell, says Ashya's mother

The parents of brain tumour patient Ashya King have described their anguish at being separated from him after they were arrested and held in a Spanish prison for several days.

As they prepared to see their son for the first time since they were detained on Saturday, Brett King, the five-year-old's father, said his heart was "aching" while his wife Naghmeh said she had been "crying and crying" in a prison cell.

Mr King told the BBC: "My heart is aching for my son. I want to see my son's face."

Asked what the ordeal had been like, Mrs King said: "All I was doing all the time was crying and crying. What could I do in a prison cell?"

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

Asked how angry they were, Mr King said: "I wouldn't say angry, I'm just missing my son so much. Anger can't come in at the moment."

The boy's mother said: "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."

Asked about being separated from her son, she said: "I was just praying so I could be reunited with him again."

Speaking later at a press conference, 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."

But there was some good news as Ashya is set to go to the Czech Republic for the treatment his parents wanted him to receive.

His medical records have been sent to the Proton Therapy Centre (PTC) in Prague, which said it had agreed the specialised technique is suitable for him.

British authorities also dropped the case amid a storm of criticism.

Mr King told reporters: "Thank you to Spain for helping us and thank you to England too."

warrant

He added: "I'm sorry we can't say more, I'm very tired."

A judge ordered the release after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it was seeking the withdrawal of the European arrest warrant.

The CPS said it had arranged with Southampton Magistrates Court for proceedings to be dropped and the arrest warrants discharged.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said: "I welcome the prosecution against Ashya King's parents being dropped. It's important this little boy gets treatment and the love of his family."

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said the tumour was successfully removed on July 24.

It added: "During discussions, Ashya's family indicated that they wished him to undergo proton radiotherapy instead of standard radiotherapy. This option was explored with the family and they were informed that in Ashya's case there is likely to be no difference in survival between standard radiotherapy and proton radiotherapy and overall no proven significant benefit."

hnews@herald.ie

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