A seriously ill five-year-old boy taken from a hospital in Hampshire against doctors' instructions has been found in Spain with his parents, who said they were just trying to find him the best treatment possible.
Police had issued an EU arrest warrant for the parents of Ashya King, who has a brain tumour and requires intensive medical care, after he was taken from Southampton General Hospital on Thursday afternoon.
Brett King, 51, and his wife Naghemeh, 45, were found with Ashya in van which was stopped by Spanish police near Malaga. Beforehand, Mr King had appeared in a video on YouTube in which he said: “I just please ask: Call off this ridiculous chase. We are not neglecting our son. We just want to be left in peace. I just want to get on with his treatment... we don't want the stress of being chased around.”
In the film, in which Ashya could be seen lying on his father's lap with his eyes open, Mr King said he wanted to take his son to Prague for proton beam therapy, which is not available on the NHS and the family were willing to fund it themselves by selling property.
The family from Southsea had been warned that if they did not follow advice given by doctors in England then “an emergency protection order” could be issued in which decisions were taken out of their hands, Mr King said.
“In his deepest, darkest hour I and my wife wouldn't be looking after him,” he said. The family had researched examples of proton beam treatment in other countries but claimed doctors in Southampton had said it would be unlikely to be of benefit.
“I'm not coming back to England if I cannot give him the treatment I want, proper treatment,” said Mr King. “We were most disturbed today to see our son's face over the internet and in newspapers and we've been labelled kidnappers as if we are putting his life at risk. You can see there is nothing wrong with him. He's very happy since we took him out of hospital. He's been smiling a lot more.”
In pictures: Ashya King's case
In pictures: Ashya King's case
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Brett King, back left, and Naghemeh King, right, accompany their son Ashya King (5) center, as he arrives for pre-cancer treatment examinations at the Motol hospital in Prague, Czech Republic
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Ashya King (5) arrives for pre-cancer treatment examinations at the Motol hospital in Prague, Czech Republic
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Brett King, father of five year old Ashya King, talks to members of the press after holding a press conference at his lawyer's office in Seville, Spain
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Brett and Naghemeh King, parents of Ashya King, attend a press conference in Sevilla, Spain. The British parents are heading to see him at a hospital in southern Spain following release their from custody after United Kingdom authorities dropped accusations of child cruelty against them
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British couple Brett (L) and Naghemeh (2L) King leave Soto del Real Prision in Soto del Real, near Madrid, Spain
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Brett King leaving Soto del Real prison near Madrid, Spain after British authorities dropped the case against him and his wife for taking their son Ashya from Southampton General Hospital without the consent of doctors
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Naghemeh King leaves Soto del Real Prision in Soto del Real, near Madrid, Spain
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Ashya King in hospital with his mother
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Journalist work outside the Materno Infantil Hospital where Ashya King is hospitalized in Malaga, Spain
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Ethan Dallas and Sanjay Ganatra, friends of the family, deliver a petition of over 100,000 names calling for his parents' release from a Spanish jail
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Spanish judge Ismael Moreno arrives to the National Courts to take statement to the parents of Britain's five-year-old boy Ashya King, in Madrid, Spain
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Ashya King parents's lawyer, Juan Isidro Fernandez Diaz, arrives at the National court in Madrid
AP Photo/Andres Kudacki
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Spanish policemen stand guard as a police van carrying the parents of Ashya King arrives at the courthouse in Madrid
JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images
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Ashya King’s parents after their court appearance
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Ashya King's father explained why he took his son to Spain in a video uploaded to YouTube
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This photo of Ashya King being examined by doctors in hospital was posted on Facebook by his brother, Naveed
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Ashya King and his brother Naveed
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Ashya King on a hospital bed
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A CCTV still issued by Hampshire Police of Ashya King with his father Brett King at around 4pm yesterday
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The exterior of Southampton General Hospital where Ashya King, who has a brain tumour was taken by his parents from the hospital without the blessing of doctors
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Hampshire Constabulary said there are 'serious concerns' for the life of Ashya King as he needs constant medical care. Officers said his parents - Brett, 51, and Naghemeh, 45, - boarded a cross-Channel ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg at 4pm yesterday with Ashya's six siblings
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Ashya King, who has a brain tumour and was taken by his parents from hospital without the blessing of doctors
Mr King said that they had begun looking at proton beam because it was more “targeted” and that they were worried that a programme of radiation and chemotherapy would “destroy everything in his head”. Mr King said the reaction had meant he had not been able to raise the money in the way he wanted to pay for extra treatment.
The family left the country on a ferry to France on Thursday. Police searching for them were growing increasingly fearful that Ashya's condition could deteriorate because he can only be fed using a tube and a medical pump with a limited battery life. Mr King said in the video they had “bundle of feeds”, iron supplements and calpol to help their son.
Hampshire Police said in a statement: “Ashya has been found. He is in Spain with his mum and dad. Police are speaking to his mum and dad and we are waiting to hear on Ashya's condition.”