The parents of Ashya King were reunited with their son yesterday – hours after a charity said it would pay for him to have potentially life-saving treatment.
Brett and Naghmeh King saw the five-year-old brain tumour patient at the hospital where he is being treated in Malaga, Spain, for the first time since they were arrested on Saturday.
The reunion took place shortly after Chesterfield-based charity Kids n Cancer UK said Mr and Mrs King had accepted its offer of funding for proton beam radiotherapy.
Donations have flooded in since the Kings fled Southampton for Spain last week after taking Ashya from hospital against medical advice.
Yesterday’s developments came a day after a European arrest warrant – issued on the grounds of suspected child neglect – was withdrawn by British prosecutors amid a public outcry.
Speaking in public about their ordeal for the first time since they were freed from Soto del Real prison in Madrid on Tuesday night, Mrs King said she had been “crying and crying”.
She told the BBC:”What could I do in a prison cell? I was just praying so I could be reunited with him again. All I could do was just cry and pray.”
Mr King said his heart was “aching” to see Ashya again and hit out at their treatment since they removed him from Southampton General Hospital almost a week ago, saying they had been “treated like terrorists”.
He claimed he had previously informed the hospital about his plans to seek proton therapy for his son but kept the date that he intended to take him secret for fear he would be stopped.
He said: “I said to them ‘I’m going. The NHS is not going to pay, I’ve got to sort this out for my son’.”
But he claimed he could not disclose when he planned to remove Ashya because he had previously been “threatened”.
Speaking outside Southampton General Hospital, Dr Peter Wilson, chief paediatrician, refuted the claim that the hospital had threatened to withdraw the parents’ right to make decisions about Ashya’s care.
He told Sky News that the family had made it clear that they would like to take Ashya to Prague but that the hospital had no idea the family had planned to leave.
He said: “We had made it very clear what could be offered on the NHS.
“While were we having those discussions, the family made it very clear they would like to go to Prague.
“At no stage did they say they were going to take Ashya and go to Prague.”
He said there was information which had “made us very worried for Ashya’s safety” after the family disappeared.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, David Cameron said decisions taken in Ashya’s case were “not correct” but added: “To be fair to the authorities involved in the case of Ashya King, they all want to do the best for the child.”
Kids n Cancer chief executive Mike Hyman said the charity had been “overwhelmed” by support and had received £35,000 in donations in 24 hours.
“I have spoken to Ashya’s brother, Naveed, and he is chuffed,” he added.