Friday 23 March 2018

Cancer boy’s mother renews court fight to stop his radiotherapy

Sally Roberts arriving for
the High Court hearing in
London. Photo: Reuters
Sally Roberts arriving for the High Court hearing in London. Photo: Reuters
Neon Roberts
Sally Roberts, the woman who ran away with her seven-year-old son to stop him having cancer treatment, said she will agree to radiotherapy if doctors find his brain tumour has returned. Photo: PA

Brian Farmer

A WOMAN who does not want her seven-year-old son to have radiotherapy after surgery on a tumour renewed her High Court fight today.

Sally Roberts, 37, of Brighton, East Sussex, fears radiotherapy will cause her son, Neon, long-term harm.

Doctors say Neon might die within months without radiotherapy.

Today, a High Court judge began hearing heard more evidence about the pros and cons of radiotherapy.

Earlier this week, Mr Justice Bodey ruled that Neon could have further surgery against Ms Roberts' wishes.

Ms Roberts, who comes from New Zealand, wanted a second operation to be delayed until more doctors had been consulted.

But specialists said follow-up surgery needed to be carried out urgently.

And Mr Justice Bodey said the operation should go ahead.

A doctor treating Neon told the judge today that the operation went well.

Ms Roberts has told the court she is not a "bonkers mother".

She fears radiotherapy will reduce Neon's IQ, shorten his life, put him at risk of having strokes and make him infertile.

Ms Roberts has said she would agree to Neon being given chemotherapy because any damage caused could be "overcome".

"The mother remains concerned that radiotherapy is not in Neon's best interests," Ian Peddie QC, for Ms Roberts, told the judge today.

"We assert that there are doctors who can offer credible alternative treatment to the therapy that is proposed."

Neon's father Ben, who lives in London and is separated from Ms Roberts, has agreed to radiotherapy but is "apprehensive", the court has heard.

A specialist treating Neon has described Ms Roberts' comments as "sensible" and accepted that there could be side-effects to radiotherapy.

But he said without radiotherapy the little boy could die within a few months.

And Victoria Butler-Cole, who is representing doctors involved in Neon's care, told the judge today that Ms Roberts was proposing "experimental therapies", which are "unproven", as alternatives to radiotherapy.

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