Ashya King's mother 'cried and prayed'

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Media captionSpeaking exclusively to the BBC's Jon Kay, Naghemeh King said all she could do was ''cry and pray'' while in prison

The mother of Ashya King has said she prayed in prison she would be reunited with her child.

Naghemeh King and her husband Brett were freed from custody in Madrid on Tuesday after efforts to extradite the couple to the UK were abandoned.

Speaking after her release, she said: "All I could do was just cry and pray."

Earlier it emerged that five-year-old Ashya, who has a brain tumour, can receive treatment at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague.

'See my son's face'

Police efforts to track down Ashya began after his parents took him from Southampton General Hospital without doctors' consent last week, in order to seek proton beam treatment abroad.

The Kings were arrested in Spain on Saturday.

In an exclusive interview, Mrs King told the BBC's Jon Kay: "What could I do in a prison cell? I could not do much, really."

Image copyright Naveed King
Image caption Ashya was being treated for brain cancer at Southampton General Hospital

Asked how angry the couple were, Mr King said: "I wouldn't say angry, I'm just missing my son so much.

"My heart is aching for my son and anger can't come in at the moment because I've just got these feelings that I've got to see my son's face."

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Media captionBrett King: "We want to help our son get through this bad time because he hasn't got too many months to live"

Mrs King 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.

"I just want to do all those things I was doing from Southampton, I want to do it for him here."

In an emotional press conference, Brett King said: "They arrested us and directly they took my son away and said he was not allowed to have any visitors.

"We want to help our son get through this bad time because he hasn't got too many months to live and we're locked away in a cell - we're just trying to speed things up to help him."

The couple are believed to be on their way to see their son in hospital in Malaga.

Image copyright Naveed King
Image caption Ashya's disappearance from Southampton General Hospital led to searches in France and Spain

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said a cancer specialist will be flown out to Spain to give Ashya's parents advice on the best course of action.

The Proton Therapy Center said it has received full medical reports from Southampton Hospital and Ashya is required to undergo two cycles of chemotherapy before he could be treated in Prague.

That is expected to take several weeks but afterwards Ashya would be able to travel to the Czech Republic.

Proton Therapy uses a form of radiation that targets cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue virtually untouched.

Arrest warrant

Ashya had major surgery to successfully remove a brain tumour on 24 July and a further operation on his brain on 22 August.

As a result of these procedures he was unable to speak, unable to eat or drink on his own and relied on a food pump.

Following his disappearance from Southampton Hospital last Thursday, Hampshire Constabulary obtained a European arrest warrant on the grounds the Kings had neglected their son.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) withdrew the warrant on Tuesday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Naghemeh and Brett King gave a news conference in Seville

In a statement, the CPS said the risk to Ashya's life "was not as great or immediate as had been originally thought".

The statement read: "Mr and Mrs King did take certain steps to safeguard the health of Ashya, for example it appears they had ordered specialist foods to care for Ashya, and had managed to charge the food pump using their car battery."

'No threat made'

Dr Pete Wilson, chief paediatrician at Southampton General Hospital, has told the BBC the Kings' departure from the hospital with Ashya came after they questioned the planned treatment for their son.

The University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust took the view that in Ashya's case proton beam treatment was of "no proven significant benefit" over standard radiotherapy and would make no difference to the likelihood of his survival.

He said: "When [the doctors] were asked directly by the family what would happen if we refused any treatment they were told that in exceptional circumstances, as doctors, we would need to act in Ashya's best interests and that may need going to the court.

"[A threat] wasn't made. A question was asked what would happen if we refused treatment.

"Refusing treatment for a child is exceptionally serious. This is a young lad who has a very, very good chance of survival if he receives rapid treatment.

"We are very clear that the message that we were giving them was consistent and that we got it across.

"I think there are cases where the family just disagrees with us. That is their right. But it our duty as doctors to do the best for the patient."

Ashya King's legal status

  • Portsmouth City Council made the request for a temporary wardship order on 29 August, following a request from Southampton General Hospital and Hampshire Constabulary, while Ashya's whereabouts were unknown
  • The order specifically related to Ashya's medical care and required him to be taken to the nearest appropriate hospital
  • Following a hearing on 2 September the case was adjourned to allow the parents to put forward their proposals for Ashya's treatment
  • He remains a ward of court and no decision about Ashya's future can be taken without the court's approval
  • 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
  • If the two sides are in agreement, the court will endorse that agreement to allow treatment to begin

Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said the Home Office had been in discussions with Hampshire Constabulary about the force's handling of the investigation.

Hampshire Police Commissioner Simon Hayes said the force had been correct to pursue the arrest warrant.

Mr Hayes said: "I'm confident with the evidence that I have that it was the right thing to do.

"Hampshire Constabulary were given information by Southampton General Hospital that said Ashya was in grave danger and he needed to be found for his life to be saved."

An internal inquiry into the case has begun at the hospital, the BBC understands.

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