Ashya King 'so happy to see his parents he lost his breath' as UK hospital denies order threats

Brett King said he and his wife Naghmeh were fearful of questioning doctors at Southampton General Hospital after it threatened them with court papers

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The Independent Online

The father of brain tumour patient Ashya King has said that his five-year-old son was so happy to see them in their emotional reunion that the boy struggled to get his breath.

Ashya saw his parents for the first time in three days yesterday, after they were arrested for taking their son from a hospital in Britain to one in Spain without the permission of doctors.

“He couldn't breathe he was so happy,” Brett King said. “He was so pleased to see us. We're trying to be hopeful."

He added: “He's not in such a good state as when we left him.”

Mr King and his wife Naghmeh were released from Soto del Real prison late on Tuesday night after the British authorities dropped its investigation and any attempts to extradite them home.


A European arrest warrant had been issued after the family fled to mainland Europe in the hope of receiving specialist proton beam therapy, which had been denied in the UK, after experts felt that the treatment was not suitable. They were arrested on Saturday.

Speaking outside the Materno-Infantil Hospital in Malaga last night, Mr King said they would be meeting with a cancer specialist today.

Officials at the hospital confirmed that they had been notified not to allow the boy’s removal, following the child being made a ward of court by Portsmouth Council.

Parental responsibility for the child was transferred to the state on Friday, though this doesn’t prohibit family visits. A review of this status is expected to be conducted by the High Court in coming days.

Yesterday, Mr King complained that doctors in the UK were going to turn his son "into a vegetable", and he has since tried to elaborate his position in terms of how and when he took the child from Southampton General Hospital a week ago.

The Trust claims that Ashya’s parents did not notify them of their intentions to remove the boy and that they did so “during unsupervised leave”.

“I couldn't actually tell them because they had threatened me previously,” Mr King claimed.

“When I just asked 'What is cancer? How did my son get it? Is there any alternatives?', straight away they said if I ask any more questions the right for me to make a decision would be taken away from me because they get an immediate court paper to say that they have right over my child.

“They could have stopped my son getting any treatment and just forcing this very strong treatment on him.”

The hospital disagrees with this statement.

Dr Peter Wilson, Chief Paediatrician at Southampton General Hospital, told Sky News: “We had made it very clear what could be offered on the NHS.

“While we were having those discussions, the family made it very clear they would like to go to Prague. At no stage did they say they were going to take Ashya and go to Prague."

When asked if the hospital had threatened Ashya’s parents with court papers he said: “Absolutely not. We absolutely disagree with that statement.”

The couple still hopes to send Ashya to Prague, in the Czech Republic, for proton beam therapy after private donors pledged tens of thousands of pounds.

The Proton Therapy Centre (PTC) said it believed the treatment was suitable and that it has received Ashya’s medical papers, but that the boy would need to travel back to the UK first for two cycles of chemotherapy.