23 March 2015
Last updated at 04:04
Ashya King was being treated for brain cancer in Southampton before his parents took him out of the UK
The parents of five-year-old Ashya King, who were jailed after taking him abroad for brain tumour treatment, have said their son is now free of cancer.
Brett and Naghemeh King were held in prison in Madrid last summer after taking their son from hospital in Southampton against medical advice.
They took him to receive treatment in Prague that was unavailable in the UK.
Mr King has told the Sun newspaper a recent scan showed “no evidence” of the tumour.
Mr and Mrs King took Ashya out of Southampton General Hospital last August, after disagreeing with doctors about his treatment and deciding to seek proton beam treatment abroad.
They took him to Spain but were arrested at the request of the British authorities and held in Madrid’s Soto Del Real prison.
The couple were kept in the jail for more than 24 hours before being released when efforts to extradite them to the UK were abandoned, with prosecutors saying they were happy any risk to Ashya’s life “was not as great or immediate as… originally thought”.
Naghemeh and Brett King spent more than 24 hours in prison in Madrid
Ashya had been diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a type of brain tumour, which was successfully removed by surgeons in Southampton on 24 July. He then had a further operation on his brain on 22 August.
As a result of these procedures he was unable to speak, unable to eat or drink on his own and relied on a food pump.
In order to help prevent a return of the tumour, 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.
Proton therapy uses a form of radiation that targets cancer cells while leaving healthy tissue virtually untouched.
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust had said Ashya’s chances of recovery with regular treatment were “very good” and there would be “no benefit to him of proton radiotherapy over standard radiotherapy”.
Dr Pete Wilson, chief paediatrician at the hospital, told the BBC at the time: “Refusing treatment for a child is exceptionally serious. This is a young lad who has a very, very good chance of survival if he receives rapid treatment.”
Ashya was taken to a hospital in Prague on 9 September, the week after his parents were in jail
But Mr and Mrs King took their son from the hospital to Spain, where they have a holiday home, and arranged treatment at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague. While they were in prison in Madrid, Ashya was being treated at a hospital in Malaga.
The Proton Therapy Center said last September it had received full medical reports from Southampton Hospital and that Ashya was required to undergo two cycles of chemotherapy before he could receive the proton treatment.
He arrived in the Czech Republic on 9 September, six days after his parents were released from prison.
In an interview with the Sun, Mr King has said his son is free of cancer, recovering at the family’s Spanish home, starting to speak again and enjoying playing with his brothers and sister in a nearby park.
Mr King told the newspaper: “It’s incredible news. We are absolutely delighted. It has justified everything we have gone through because things are working out for Ashya.”