'Neon's cancer is back': Grandfather of boy, 7, abducted by his mother who wanted to block life-saving brain tumour treatment reveals his sudden relapse
01:56 GMT, 9 December 2012
The seven-year-old boy at the centre of a row over his cancer treatment is suffering from a recurrence of his brain tumour, his family said last night.
A High Court judgment on whether the mother of Neon Roberts could prevent him having radiotherapy was dramatically adjourned yesterday after the judge said there had been medical ‘developments’.
Sally Roberts, 37, has been battling with her estranged husband, Ben, 34, over the treatment Neon should receive following surgery to remove his tumour.
She objected to the youngster being given a course of radiotherapy, claiming that her son was ‘free’ of cancer.
Neon Roberts, 7, pictured, is suffering from a recurrence of his brain tumour, his family revealed last night
A High Court judgment on whether the mother of Neon, pictured with his twin sister Electra, could prevent him having radiotherapy was adjourned yesterday
Sally Roberts, 37, pictured left, has been battling with her estranged husband, Ben, 34, pictured right, over the treatment of their son Neon
But The Mail on Sunday has learned that the family were given the devastating news on Friday that Neon’s cancer had returned, meaning any legal ruling had to be delayed.
The boy’s paternal grandfather, Christian Roberts, a wealthy hotelier in Barbados, said the diagnosis came after the boy underwent an MRI scan on Friday.
Speaking at his Lone Star Hotel on the Caribbean island, a tearful Mr Roberts said: ‘I heard from my son on Friday, who took him for a scan, that the cancer is back. It is very hard because this is all happening so far away. I support my son. I want Neon to have whatever treatment is going to make him better.’
Asked if this includes radiotherapy, the 68-year-old replied: ‘Yes.’
The former actor said the child’s suffering had brought him to the verge of collapse. ‘The stress of all of this is overwhelming. I’ve not been feeling well. I’ve had difficulty sleeping.’
Neon, who underwent an operation for his tumour six weeks ago, was due to start life-saving treatment after the surgery.
But his mother, who sparked a
nationwide police hunt last week when she went into hiding with her son,
has argued that radiotherapy treatment would lower his IQ and possibly
leave him infertile. Mrs Roberts, a DJ from New Zealand, took her battle
to the High Court over fears that radiotherapy on Neon’s
medulloblastoma tumour would ‘fry his brains’. Doctors argue that Neon
could die within months without the treatment.
Roberts sparked a nationwide search after she disappeared with Neon
from where they had been staying in Devon on Monday, but was found by
police on Thursday.
Sally, pictured with her twins, sparked a nationwide police hunt last week when she went into hiding with Neon
Neon's paternal grandfather, Christian Roberts, pictured, a wealthy hotelier in Barbados, said the diagnosis came after the youngster underwent an MRI scan on Friday
She later argued in court that Neon appeared so well that the serious side effects of the radiotherapy far outweighed the threat to his health.
Speaking after yesterday’s hearing, Mrs Roberts’s brother Tony said Neon was set to undergo further tests.
He said: ‘It’s a very upsetting time for us. Neon is having more tests, and we won’t know the results until next week.’
The development meant that the judge had to delay his decision.
Mr Justice Bodey told the hearing: ‘It had been my intention today to give my judgment as part of Neon’s treatment for brain cancer on whether he should receive chemotherapy only or radiotherapy as well. Medical developments have now occurred regarding the possibility to receive said treatment for such therapies at the present time.
‘This has changed the medical landscape. Nature is no respecter of the courts.’
Mrs Roberts was found with Neon in East Grinstead, West Sussex, where she had been taking him for oxygen therapy.
The pair were discovered after the Family Division of the High Court took the unusual step of releasing the boy’s name and picture. Social workers temporarily put Neon, who has a twin sister Electra, in the care of foster parents, but he was later returned to his father, who has agreed to the radiotherapy.
Outside court, Mrs Roberts said: ‘Neon is having to undergo more tests. We don’t really know what’s going on at the moment.’
Her estranged husband, an IT consultant, added: ‘Neon had a scan on Friday and there are still tests to be done. I can’t make any further comment.’
Neon, pictured with his twin sister Electra on a slide, has been exposed to a range of alternative therapies
However, his sister confirmed that Neon’s cancer had returned, saying: ‘Yes, that is correct. But we would rather not say anything more at the moment. We haven’t had a proper chance to talk to our father about it. Ben and I just want to look after each other and the kids.’
Mrs Roberts’s High Court battle has meant the treatment has been delayed, bringing it dangerously near to a 49-day deadline where radiotherapy must begin or the patient’s chance of survival is significantly reduced.
Last week, the court heard from Doctor A, who will be treating Neon, that Neon could die without treatment. Dr A said that research showed that radiotherapy offered him the best chance of survival and without it there was a strong chance of the cancer returning.
Dr A, who has already seen Neon, said: ‘A child who has had surgery for a brain tumour can appear well and healthy, but clinically the cancer could have returned.
‘There is a real need to commence treatment as soon as possible.’
Lawyers from the NHS Trust and council, who are tasked with looking after Neon’s interests, were supported by Dr A’s arguments that he should receive treatment.
Neon has been exposed to a range of alternative therapies since his operation, including oxygen treatment and an organic diet.
Mr Justice Bodey agreed to adjourn the case until December 18 to allow for medical reports to be updated.