6:00am Saturday 30th August 2014
AN INTERNATIONAL search to find a seriously ill five-year-old suffering from a brain tumour has today moved to Spain.
Ashya King was taken from Southampton General Hospital by his parents on Thursday and they were last seen on a ferry to France.
That triggered a huge search operation which has seen officers from Hampshire Constabulary working alongside colleagues across Western Europe and Interpol in a desperate bid to find him.
This morning police revealed they have received information suggesting the youngster, who is desperately ill, and his parents and six siblings are in Spain.
Hampshire police believe the family is or could be heading to the Marbella area.
However, it has been reported the family's vehicle was spotted by members of the public yesterday and that was part of the reason police believed they were travelling to Spain.
Police have said they would be contacting hospitals across Europe and Hampshire Constabulary may send officers to Spain and France in the search for Ashya.
They fear Ashya's life may be at risk, and last night police said their concerns were growing with each hour after the battery life on a machine administering his food was likely to have expired.
As reported, Ashya, from Southsea, was being treated at Southampton General and had recently undergone surgery.
His parents Brett King, 51, and Naghmeh King, 45, took him from the hospital at 2pm on Thursday and they were last seen boarding a continental ferry from Portsmouth to Cherbourg with Ashya and his six siblings.
With no idea as to the family’s whereabouts, police are coordinating a massive search operation that has seen messages sent out on social media sites in France, Germany, Spain and Italy as well as the UK.
This morning, Hampshire Constabulary Assistant Chief Constable Chris Shead (above) said: "The need to find Ashya is now desperate. It is really important that we find him and ensure he receives medical attention at the earliest opportunity.
"We still don’t know whether the King family have any spare batteries for the machine which administers food, the knowledge, or any way of recharging the battery. Without properly administered food Ashya’s situation is very serious."
"Our message remains the same: please help us find him."
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said Ashya was allowed to leave the ward under his parents' supervision and hospital staff raised the alarm when the length of his absence ''became a cause of concern''.
The Office of Public Information for Jehovah's Witnesses confirmed that Ashya's parents were followers of the religious movement.
Although Jehovah's Witnesses refuse blood transfusions on religious grounds, a spokesman said there was ''absolutely no indication'' that the family's decision was ''motivated by any religious convictions''.
Police have said their ''total focus'' is on finding Ashya and his parents are not under criminal investigation.
Ashya's paternal grandmother, Patricia King, said his parents were ''wonderful'' and had been left beside themselves at their child's plight.
Speaking from her home in Southsea yesterday, she said of her son: ''He's the most caring and wonderful father you could ever have. The kids love him.''
She also praised her daughter-in-law, saying she had kept a bedside vigil while Ashya was in hospital.
''We are a very close family,'' she added.
Ms King said she last spoke to her son ''quite a while ago'', adding: ''He wouldn't have told me anything because he wouldn't want me to know anything in case I got involved in it all.''
The registration of the grey people carrier that the King family are travelling in is KP60 HWK.
He added: "If you see it, if you think you may have seen Brett, Naghmeh, Ashya and the six other children, please call us now on +441962 841534 or dial the European emergency number on 112 as soon as possible."
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