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Ashya King parents defend actions as son heads to school

Brett and Naghmeh King said they were 'proud' as son Ashya prepares to return to school following his controversial cancer treatment. Credit: GMB

The parents of brain cancer survivor Ashya King have told ITV's Good Morning Britain an international manhunt and their brief jailing was necessary to secure their son's treatment, on the day he heads back to school.

Brett and Naghmeh King made global headlines after taking the then five-year-old from Southampton General Hospital without doctors' consent in August 2014.

Brett King tells Good Morning Britain why doctors must listen more to parents:

The couple were arrested a few days later in Spain, where they were forced to spend three days in prison away from their son before being released.

A High Court judge later approved the move to take Ashya to Prague for proton beam therapy.

Father Brett King told GMB that doctors should be more "open" in discussing alternative cancer treatments for children and said parents' wishes and desires should be taken into greater account.

The proton therapy sought by Ashya's parents was not offered on the NHS. Credit: GMB/The King family

"As parents you have a feeling as to how much (your child) could take and how much he couldn't take," he said. "We knew our son was too weak to accept the traditional therapy."

A report by Portsmouth Safeguarding Children Board found the actions by Ashya's parents had "put him at risk".

Mr King said he and his wife "would hate for this to happen for anyone else" but defended their actions as necessary to helping their son make a recovery from his rare condition.

Naghmeh King told Good Morning Britain she spent 'a long time praying' for her son while imprisoned in Spain. Credit: GMB/The King family

"We are so proud of him," he told GMB, describing Ashya as "the boy that we used to have before the operation".

"There are still a few issues - he is wobbly on his legs and his speech is a bit strained but he is a fighter, he does not give up and he is prepared to try anything."

Asked what he was looking forward to most as he headed back to school, Ashya said: "Playing with my friends."

The proton therapy was not offered to Ashya on the NHS, although the health service later agreed to fund his treatment.

Several new proton beam therapy centres will open in the UK from this year.