UK & World News
Ashya: CPS Drops Case Against Boy's Parents
The parents of Ashya King look set to be released from detention in Spain after UK prosecutors announced they were dropping the case against them.
Brett and Naghmeh King, from Portsmouth, will face no further action after taking the five-year-old from Southampton General Hospital last Thursday, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
But the couple, who are being held in Madrid, appear to be facing another night apart from their son, with the next hearing in their case not likely to be held until Wednesday.
Ashya, who has a brain tumour, is under police guard at the Materno-Infantil hospital in Malaga, about 330 miles south of the Spanish capital.
The decision to seek the withdrawal of the European arrest warrant that sparked the hunt for Mr and Mrs King emerged during a hearing at the High Court in London.
Lawyers representing the CPS and Portsmouth City Council told Mr Justice Baker of the plan at the start of a hearing in the Family Division.
In a statement the CPS said: "No further action will be taken against Mr and Mrs King and we are now in the process of communicating this decision to the Spanish Authorities so that they can be reunited with their son as soon as possible.
"Further details will be released later this afternoon."
The move was welcomed by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said: "I welcome the prosecution against Ashya King's parents being dropped. It's important this little boy gets treatment and the love of his family."
The arrest warrant was issued after Ashya's parents removed him from Southampton General to have alternative proton beam radiotherapy in the Czech Republic.
Spain's state prosecutor is also planning to request that the Kings are released on bail, a court source told Reuters.
A court in Madrid has called them for a hearing on Wednesday morning to decide if they should be freed ahead of a decision on an extradition request.
The developments came as the head of the police force which applied for the international arrest warrant said the present situation was "not right".
Andy Marsh, chief constable of Hampshire Police, said: "Irrespective of what has happened it is our view that Ashya needs both medical treatment and for his parents to be at his side.
"Our intent was to secure his safety not to deny him family support at this particularly challenging time "
Earlier Mr Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg joined mounting calls for Ashya to be reunited with his mother and father.
In an interview with LBC, Mr Cameron said pictures of the boy reminded him of his own son Ivan, who died almost six years ago.
"I remember him endlessly sitting on my lap and having to feed him through a tube and having to deal with all of the difficulties of having a desperately ill child," Mr Cameron said.
Mr Clegg, who described the situation as "heartbreaking", said: "I would like to see the family reunited and then hopefully people can calmly make a decision about what should happen next."
An online petition calling for Ashya to be reunited with his parents had attracted nearly 200,000 signatures at 5pm on Tuesday.
Ethan Dallas, 16, a friend of Ashya's brother Naveed, who started the petition, delivered it to Downing Street, saying the case had "touched the heart of nations".
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the Government was proposing to fly a top oncologist to Spain to advise the family.
Mr Hunt said the NHS does offer proton beam therapy for children who need it and had funded 99 patients in the last year, although he added: "It is not always appropriate, it is not always safe."
A spokesman for University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said it had been willing to support the family's wish to go to Prague for treatment, but "did not recommend it".
It has been revealed Mr and Mrs King are planning legal action against Southampton General Hospital over Ashya's treatment.