Ashya King's parents freed from Spanish prison
- 3 September 2014
- From the section England
Ashya King's parents have been freed from a Spanish prison.
Brett and Naghemeh King were detained after taking five-year-old Ashya, who has a brain tumour, from a Southampton hospital against medical advice.
They were released after UK prosecutors withdrew a European arrest warrant, stating that they were happy any risk to Ashya's life "was not as great or immediate as... originally thought".
Ashya is being treated in a hospital in Malaga.
Speaking to reporters as the couple left Madrid's Soto Del Real prison, Mr King said: "We will go to see my son as soon as possible, we have been dying to see his face for so long."
It emerged on Wednesday that the Proton Therapy Center (PTC) in Prague has reviewed Ashya's medical documentation and says he can be treated there.
Police efforts to track down Ashya began after his parents took him from Southampton Hospital without doctors' consent in order to seek proton beam treatment abroad.
The PTC says Dr Gary Nicolin, consultant paediatric oncologist at Southampton Hospital, has said Ashya is first required to undergo two cycles of chemotherapy.
That is expected to take several weeks but afterwards he would be able to travel to Prague for proton therapy.
A Spanish judge ordered the parents' release on Tuesday after the Crown Prosecution Service said it had "urgently reviewed the case".
A CPS spokesman said: "We consider there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction for any criminal offence."
At the scene: Tom Burridge, BBC News correspondent, Madrid
As they walked to the door of Soto del Real prison, Brett and Naghemeh King were greeted and hugged by two friends.
They then emerged from the prison, walking slowly, with a small suitcase and bag, towards a throng of cameras and waiting press.
"We're tired," Mr King told me. Yearning to see our son. We're completely relieved."
"Are you angry?", a Spanish journalist asked him. "No, not at all."
And his message for the British public, I asked him? "Thank you for all your support."
They said they just wanted to see their five-year-old son.
"We've been dying to see his face for so long now," he added.
Mr King seemed bewildered but relatively calm, given what he and his wife had been through over the past few days.
The Kings had spent more than 24 hours inside the jail. Once the Crown Prosecution Service decided to drop legal proceedings against them, it took roughly seven hours for them to be set free in Spain.
They were driven away on a long journey down to southern Spain, so they could be reunited with their seven children, including five-year-old Ashya, who is in a hospital in Malaga.
Daniel King, Ashya's older brother, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the family would travel to the hospital in Malaga to visit him later on Wednesday.
He said his parents were "really happy to be out and they just want to go and see Ashya as soon as possible; it was just one of these things that got way out of hand".
"We're just trying to get everything back to normal now he can have his family back with him."
Mr King, who had been allowed to visit his five-year-old brother while their parents were in jail, added: "Physically he is fine but emotionally he's very confused - but I hope that's all going to finish now."
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the move to drop the prosecution.
In a tweet, he said: "It's important this little boy gets treatment & the love of his family."
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said a top cancer specialist will be flown out to Spain to advise Ashya's parents.
Mr Hunt said: "What we want to do is make sure that Ashya's family get the best independent advice.
"It's been a very unfortunate sequence of events and there have clearly been some misunderstandings along the way. What we want to focus on is getting the right treatment for Ashya."
Ashya was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumour, which was successfully removed by surgeons last month.
However, in order to help prevent its return, his parents wanted him to be given proton beam therapy - a treatment the NHS does not provide in the UK, although it does refer patients to other countries for treatment.
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has said Ashya's chances of recovery with regular treatment are "very good". It has said there would be "no benefit to him of proton radiotherapy over standard radiotherapy".
It was then "during unsupervised leave on the trust's grounds, Ashya's family chose to remove him without informing or seeking the consent of medical staff", the trust said.
"When Ashya went missing last week we had no option but to call the police because we did not know where he was or what his parents' intentions were," a spokesman said.
An internal inquiry into the case has begun at Southampton General Hospital, the BBC understands.
The prime minister's spokesman said the Home Office had been in discussions with Hampshire Constabulary about the force's handling of the investigation.
Hampshire Police commissioner Simon Hayes said the force had been correct to pursue the arrest warrant.
Mr Hayes said: "I'm confident with the evidence that I have that it was the right thing to do.
"Hampshire Constabulary were given information by Southampton General Hospital that said Ashya was in grave danger and he needed to be found for his life to be saved."