Ashya King's Grandmother Attacks Police Tactics During Search For Sick Boy

Ashya King's Grandmother Attacks Police Tactics

The grandmother of a five-year-old brain cancer patient whose parents took him out of hospital without doctors' consent has blasted police for arresting the couple.

Ashya King's family took him from Southampton General Hospital on Thursday afternoon and travelled on a ferry to France with the boy and his six siblings before heading south to the Costa del Sol in southern Spain.

Brett King, 51, and Naghmeh King, 45, both Jehovah's Witnesses, were arrested at 10pm local time yesterday in Velez-Malaga by Spanish police.

Hampshire police today defended their decision to request a European arrest warrant for the Kings on suspicion of neglect after they decided to leave the country with Ashya to seek a form of treatment that is not available on the NHS.

But Mr King's mother, Patricia King, said that they had "gone over the top" after officers used a warrant to search her flat in Southsea, Portsmouth.

Ms King told the BBC: "I'm very angry, I think it's been taken too far, much too far.

"Brett couldn't believe it, that Ashya's pictures were all over the papers and they said he'd kidnapped his own son. He's really upset.

"The police have talked to me and my flat's been search. Two policewomen and a police man came to my home with a warrant and searched my flat. I'm disgusted."

The distraught grandmother also said that she had been asked to make a statement but had refused.

British police are thought to have questioned the Kings today before a Spanish judge opens extradition proceedings against them.

The couple are being held in custody and officers have a maximum of 72 hours to question them before handing the matter over to the court.

According to reports in local media, they are expected to appear in a Madrid court at 9.30am local time tomorrow.

Aysha, who had received surgery for a stage four brain tumour before travelling to Spain, is thought to be in a stable condition and is being treated at the Materno-Infantil hospital in Malaga.

His six brothers and sisters are still thought to be in the southern Spanish city.

The family is believed to have travelled there with the intention of selling their holiday home to finance proton beam treatment for Ashya in the Czech Republic.

Earlier today Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead, of Hampshire Constabulary, said he was aware the police's approach had created a "significant amount of debate".

He said: "We had medical experts telling us that Ashya was in grave danger. Medical experts were saying to us that if he didn't get the care that he needed, there was a potential threat to his life.

"Faced with those circumstances, I make no apology for the police being as proactive as we possibly can to actually find Ashya and ensure that he gets the help he needed.

"I would much sooner be standing here facing criticism for being proactive than to stand here and face criticism for doing nothing and then potentially having to explain why a child has lost his life."

Mr Shead said that it would be up to the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether to charge Ashya's parents.

And he insisted that the child's best interests should be decided by medical experts, with Southampton General Hospital doctors in touch with the doctors taking care of Ashya in Malaga.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust today said it had offered Ashya's family access to a second opinion on the boy's treatment and offered to help with organising treatment abroad.

A spokesman said: "Our priority has always been Ashya's welfare and we are delighted that he has been found. We are now working closely with colleagues in Malaga to ensure he receives the essential medical support he needs.

"We are aware of the comments made online by his father. Throughout Ashya's admission we have had conversations about the treatment options available to him and we had offered the family access to a second opinion, as well as assistance with organising treatment abroad.

"We understand how distressing this situation is for everyone involved, particularly Ashya's family. We will continue to do what we can to support them and assist the police in providing any information they require."

In a video blog posted on Youtube yesterday, Mr King said he had pleaded for proton beam therapy to be used to treat his son but had been told that it would be no benefit for the medulloblastoma Ashya is suffering.

He also claimed his son's treatment in Southampton seemed like ''trial and error'' but was told that if he questioned it the hospital would seek an emergency protection order.

He said: ''After that I realised I can't speak to the oncologist at all, because if I actually ask anything or give any doubt I wasn't in full accord with them, they were going to get a protection order which meant in his deepest, darkest hour I wouldn't be there to look after him, and neither would my wife - they would prevent us from entering the ward.

''That's such a cruel system I decided I had to start looking at the proton beam myself.''

Mr and Mrs King were pictured tonight arriving with Spanish police at a court house in Velez-Malaga.

It is thought a judge will make a decision on whether the couple should be taken to Madrid for further legal proceedings tomorrow.

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