A seven-year-old boy with a brain tumour who went missing with his mother who was refusing to allow him to have cancer treatment has been found following an appeal.
Neon Luca Roberts was found safe and well in Sussex after going missing from Tiverton where he and his mother, Sally, 37, has been staying.
The appeal was launched after a High Court judge relaxed reporting restrictions to allow identification of the boy.
The court heard that doctors believe Neon’s chances of surviving the illness would have been “dramatically reduced” if he had not been found and radiotherapy treatment begun.
In a statement, Devon and Cornwall police said: “Following extensive press coverage, the high risk missing person, Neon Roberts has been located safe and well by officers in Sussex. Emergency protection care has been put in place and Neon’s welfare will be considered in the High Court.
“Devon and Cornwall Police would like to thank the public, the media and police colleagues in Sussex for their assistance in securing Neon’s safe recovery.”
Sally who is originally from New Zealand, was last seen with the little boy on Sunday in Tiverton.
Her former partner, Neon’s dad Ben, an IT consultant from Knightsbridge in London, had not heard from either of them since the weekend.
During the hearing today, lawyers for the NHS, Devon County Council and for those tasked with looking after the boy’s interests agreed his disappearance should be made public.
The judge said: “He suffers from a brain tumour and has recently had surgery and the doctors responsible for his treatment believe he urgently needs radiotherapy.
“His mother, Mrs Sally Roberts, who is also known as Sally Lees, is opposed to the treatment and has disappeared with Neon. Her family have had no contact with her for several days and are very concerned for her and Neon.
“The doctors say that, unless treatment is started next week, the prospects of Neon’s surviving are dramatically reduced.
“I have asked for the assistance of the public in looking for this very sick little boy. I have also made urgent arrangements for a hearing to consider the case and future treatment on Friday of this week by a judge of the Family Division of the High Court.
“I hope very much that Mrs Roberts will make contact with her solicitors and the court as soon as possible.
“As I say, there is an urgent hearing fixed for Friday this week, where she will be able to put her case before any decision about treatment is given.
“I can only urge her to come forward. I am deeply concerned for the welfare and wellbeing of this little boy.”
Speaking outside court, Ben Roberts said Sally was just “a concerned mother” who does not want to see her son suffer any more than he needs to.
“She wants to do everything she can and rely on natural remedies and things that are not too invasive, rather than radiotherapy and chemotherapy,” he said.
“She is worried about the damage that can be done. She wants him to be able to live a normal life. She doesn’t want him to be crippled or anything like that.
“Personally, I want everything for him. I want to make sure he has everything available to him. I understand there are lots of things that can be done to minimise the after effects of radiotherapy, with various other pre- and post-treatments.
“All the evidence I have been presented with has told me he needs to have that therapy, but I am also aware there are side effects. It concerns me as well.”