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Monday 22 September 2014

Ashya's parents reveal anguish at being separated from sick son

By Ruth Lumley

Published 03/09/2014 | 10:17

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The parents of brain tumour patient Ashya King have described their anguish at being separated from him after they were arrested and held in a Spanish prison for several days.

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As they prepared to see their son for the first time since they were detained on Saturday, Brett King, the five-year-old's father, said his heart was "aching" while his wife Naghmeh said she had been "crying and crying" in a prison celll.

"My heart is aching for my son. I want to see my son's face,” he told the BBC.

Asked what the ordeal had been like, Mrs King said: "All I was doing all the time was crying and crying. What could I do in a prison cell?"

The couple were freed last night after British authorities abandoned their attempts to extradite them amid a public backlash.

Read more: Ashya's mum and dad free as charges are dropped in UK

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.

Brett and Naghemeh King, centre and left, leave Soto Del Real prison in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. British prosecutors are dropping the case against a couple who ended up in a Spanish jail after they tried to get treatment abroad for their son's severe brain tumor, authorities said Tuesday. Brett and Naghemeh King were pursued by police after they took 5-year-old Ashya out of a hospital in southern England against doctors' advice and traveled to Spain, where they planned to sell a property to pay for proton beam radiation therapy in the Czech Republic or the U.S. They were arrested on a British warrant on suspicion of cruelty to a person under 16 years of age, and are in custody in a jail near Madrid. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Brett and Naghemeh King, centre and left, leave Soto Del Real prison in Madrid, Spain. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Brett King (blue), father of Ashya King, is hugged by a friend after he and his wife were released from prison in Soto del Real, near Madrid, September 2, 2014. A Spanish judge has ordered the immediate release from custody of the two British parents detained in Madrid, after they ignored medical advice and took five-year-old Ashya, who is seriously ill with a brain tumour, out of a hospital in Southampton, southern England, and brought him to Spain, a court source said on Tuesday, speeding a reunion with their son. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (SPAIN - Tags: CRIME LAW POLITICS HEALTH)
Brett King (blue), father of Ashya King, is hugged by a friend after he and his wife were released from prison in Soto del Real, near Madrid, September 2, 2014
Ashya King has been made a ward of court

Asked how angry they were, Mr King said: "I wouldn't say angry, I'm just missing my son so much. Anger can't come in at the moment because I've just got these feelings I've got to see my son's face."

The boy's mother said: "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."

Asked about being separated from her son, she said: "I was just praying so I could be reunited with him again. I couldn't do much, really - all I could do was just cry and pray."

Speaking later at a press conference, Mr King told of the anguish of hearing his wife crying from his cell in Soto del Real prison near Madrid.

His voice breaking with emotion, he described the couple's desperation to see Ashya because he "hasn't got too many months to live".

Mr King said: "When we were in prison there wasn't a minute that went by without our hearts hurting to see Ashya. My wife spent most of the time crying in the cell.

"I was going to ask to move cells because I was worried and I couldn't listen to my wife crying. When you are locked up you can't do anything."

Mr King described the uncertainty they faced about their son's condition after they were detained.

"What is going to happen to Ashya without us? We didn't know what was happening because they arrested us and directly they took our son away.

"We said 'You don't even really know what's wrong with him. He needs therapy on his legs, on his arms. You need to turn him from side to side.'

"But they're not interested. They just want to take him away from us."

He said he does not "feel good" but added: "Hopefully now we can see our son, we can be together and show love to him because without that there's no purpose to life.

"We just want to help my son get through this bad time because he hasn't got too many months to live and we are locked away in a cell. No-one can do anything.

"We are trying to speed things up to help him as much as possible."

He thanked Prime Minister David Cameron and "anyone who has helped release us".

The couple are now expected to travel from Seville, where the press conference was held, to Malaga, where their son is being treated.

Patricia King, Brett's mother,  said she was "so happy" that the couple had been released and that 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".

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

"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."

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