A HUNT has begun for a mother who ran away with her seven-year-old son to prevent him from receiving life-saving cancer treatment.
Sally Roberts (37) is opposed to her son Neon receiving radiotherapy treatment for a brain tumour and disappeared with him on Sunday.
She was in the middle of a court battle with the child's father, Ben Roberts, an IT consultant from London, who agrees with doctors that Neon's chances of survival will be greatly increased with treatment.
Mr Justice Hogg at the British High Court relaxed reporting restrictions to allow the identification of the child, as doctors said that, without speedy treatment, his chances will be "dramatically reduced".
Neon is at the centre of a court battle about whether he should have radiotherapy. He was last seen with his New Zealand-born mother in Devon and they did not make an appearance at court yesterday.
Lawyers for the NHS and those looking after the boy's interests agreed his disappearance should be made public.
"I have made an order permitting the identification of the child, Neon Luca Roberts, who is aged seven," said the judge.
"It's thought that he is (in) need of urgent life-saving treatment. He suffers from a brain tumour and has recently had surgery and his doctors believe he urgently needs radiotherapy.
"His mother, Mrs Sally Roberts, who is also known as Sally Lees, is opposed to the treatment and has disappeared with him. Her family have had no contact with her for several days and are very concerned for her and Neon.
"The doctors say unless treatment is started next week, the prospects of Neon's surviving are dramatically reduced." The judge said he was appealing for the help of the public in looking for "this very sick little boy". The court then ordered a hearing on Friday.
"I hope very much that Mrs Roberts will make contact with her solicitors and the court as soon as possible," he added.
"There is a hearing fixed for Friday, where she will be able to put her case before any decision about treatment is given."
The courts are a last resort to decide what kind of medical treatment a child should have if the parents disagree.
In 2003, two girls were ordered by the British High Court to have the MMR vaccine, despite the opposition of their mothers. The fathers were in favour.
Mr Justice Sumner said that because the children's parents held opposing views, he had to do what he considered best for the children. (© Daily Telegraph, London)