Not ''bonkers'' ... Sally Roberts fears side effects from radiotherapy to treat her son's cancer. Photo: Getty Images
Sally Roberts ran away with her seven-year-old son Neon and took him into hiding in Britain in a desperate attempt to seize back control of the way he was being treated for brain cancer.
The bright-eyed, blond boy and his mother became the subject of a nationwide search last week, but the police tracked them down and ordered Mrs Roberts to the High Court in London.
She insists she is not a ''bonkers mother'', but says she became alarmed after a doctor said that giving radiotherapy to her son would ''fry his brain''.
New scans ... Neon Roberts's medical prognosis has changed.
The case was heard by Justice David Bodey on Friday, and a special Saturday hearing was held at the Royal Courts of Justice so that the judge could announce what would happen to Neon next. But instead he had to admit that events were now out of even his control.
''It had been my intention to deliver a judgment this morning on the urgent issue as to whether, as part of N's treatment for brain cancer, he should receive chemotherapy only or radiotherapy as well,'' said the judge, as both Neon's parents sat in the front row of the plain, wood-panelled Court 40. However, there had been a change overnight in the boy's ''ability to be treated with such therapies at this present time''. The medical landscape had changed, said the judge. ''Nature is no respecter of court timetables.''
Justice Bodey did not give any details of the change, but it had been said in court the previous day that Neon was undergoing new scans. A malignant tumour was removed from his cerebellum, just above the neck, in August.
The case was adjourned until December 18. Neon's father Ben Roberts left quickly without making any comment. The 34-year-old IT consultant from west London has said he is willing to follow medical advice that Neon needs radiotherapy now to save his life. But Mr Roberts is concerned about the risks, and has also said he would support his estranged wife if she proved her case. The couple no longer live together, but remain friends. Consent for treatment must come from both parents.
Sally Roberts accepts that Neon should have chemotherapy to improve his chances of survival after the surgery, but does not want her son to have radiotherapy unless doctors can convince her it is absolutely essential. She fears possible side effects including strokes, restricted growth, impotence and a reduced IQ.
Describing Neon as ''vibrant and healthy'' with strong artistic talents, she said in court on Friday: ''He is not a sick boy, as has been written about him. I feel that if we go ahead with the radiotherapy we could be depriving him of his talents.''
Mrs Roberts said in an interview: ''The doctor said he would need radiotherapy across all his brain. When I questioned why they couldn't target only the area where the tumour was, he replied: 'You have to fry the whole brain'.''
On Saturday, Mrs Roberts said after the hearing: ''Thank you for all your interest in the case and for all your support. There is nothing else I want to say except what the judge has already said.''