Brain tumour youngster who was at centre of an international manhunt is back home

Ashya King's parents were arrested after taking him to Spain for proton beam therapy.

The six-year-old cancer sufferer's disappearance from a Southampton hospital last year sparked an international manhunt. After being declared cancer-free in March, Ashya flew into Gatwick Airport with his family yesterday (July 2). He said: "We are coming home to live and I am excited to be back. I want to see my grandma." His parents, Brett and Naghmeh King, have returned after receiving assurances they face no legal action for taking him to Spain without his doctor’s consent. They had previously been too scared to return home in case social services took Ashya from them. Mr King told the Sun: "Ashya is so glad to be back. The whole family’s relieved to be back where we belong — this is our home. "Now we just want to carry on with life and continue to do what is best for Ashya." Their return comes 11 months after they took their son from Southampton General Hospital and travelled to Malaga in search of alternative treatment, without telling his doctors. A frenzied hunt for the Kings was launched last August after the little boy was reported as missing. The search became all the more desperate after medical experts told police the battery in Ashya’s tube feeding unit was due to run down and his life was ‘in grave danger’. Ashya’s family later said they in fact had a power cord for his feeding system in the car and spare food for his tube to sustain him. Mr King said he was forced to flee the country with his family because of fears over his son’s treatment. Ashya had undergone major surgery for an aggressive brain tumour and was kept alive by a feeding tube. Read more about brain injury as a result of brain tumours here.  NHS cancer specialists told his family that the boy couldn’t be saved and would likely die within four months. But his parents refused to accept this prognosis and took their son and their six other children on a ferry to France before driving to Malaga. The proton beam therapy he underwent, which costs £100,000 per patient, is not widely available on the NHS but is commonly used throughout Europe. Mr and Mrs King were arrested in Spain and held for three days last October on suspicion of child neglect but were released after a public outcry over their plight. In December Mr King claimed he was ‘treated like a criminal’ when he returned to Britain for the first time. He said Border Force officials took his passport at Gatwick Airport and made him wait in a holding area while they phoned other authorities and called in two uniformed police officers. Ashya received the specialist proton-beam therapy treatment that his parents fought for in Prague last October. Click here to read more about this story. 
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