Sunday 20 January 2019

Ashya's parents relieved as charges dropped

Brett and Naghemeh King, centre and left, leave Soto Del Real prison in Madrid, Spain. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Brett and Naghemeh King, centre and left, leave Soto Del Real prison in Madrid, Spain. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

The parents of brain tumour patient Ashya King said they were relieved as they were released from a Spanish prison.

Brett and Naghmeh King were freed last night and told they will face no further action from prosecutors over their attempt to take their five-year-old son abroad to seek alternative treatment for his brain tumour.

Following his release last night, Brett King told reporters: "We're very relieved to be free."

Speaking in both Spanish and English, he said: "We are very grateful to Spain for the support and help we have received.

"We will go to see my son as soon as possible, we have been dying to see his face for so long.

"Thank you to Spain for helping us and thank you to England too."

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

The couple had been in custody in Spain for two nights without being allowed to see Ashya after being arrested using a controversial European arrest warrant for taking their five-year-old son from an English hospital.

Patricia King, Brett's mother,  said she was "so happy" that the couple had been released and she was expecting to speak to her son later on today.

She said: "I spoke to Naveed, one of my grandsons. They are elated but they are absolutely worn out.

"My two grandsons have been doing so much work over there to help them."

Mrs King said she expected the family would take Ashya to Prague for proton beam treatment as soon as they were allowed to "get it done because there is no time to delay".

She said: "They have had offers from America but that would be too far for him to travel.

"The pressure from the plane, he would not be able to stand it.

"I haven't slept. My head is whirring and I have been worrying all the time. They (Brett and Naghmeh) must have had a terrible time of it."

Mrs King said a European arrest warrant should never have been issued in the first place and criticised Hampshire Constabulary and Southampton General Hospital for the way they had dealt with the situation.

She said: "Everyone is trying to backtrack after lying - the police, the hospital.

"They have not told a word of truth to try and make themselves look good.

"It's been lies and then U-turns."

Naveed King told ITV News that progress was being made to get Ashya to the Czech Republic for treatment as soon as possible.

"We can now just carry on with what we had planned to give him the proton beam treatment, you know, if it's the go ahead with all the doctors... to allow Ashya to be treated. As far as I know, it is," he said.

"Progress is being made to get Ashya to the Czech Republic to get everything sorted as soon as possible.

"I am still waiting on news."

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

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

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news and said it was "important this little boy gets treatment and the love of his family".

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