Family of ‘starved’ child to seek refuge in Britain

The family of the three-year-old boy allegedly starved by his mother in Jerusalem plan to move to London and be supported by British taxpayers “as soon as possible”, according to the toddler’s grandmother.

The woman said her son and pregnant daughter-in-law would “run to Stamford Hill” with their five children as soon as legal proceedings against the mother are concluded.

Once in Britain, the grandmother said the couple, both in their 30s, would seek housing benefits and the help of the Charedi community in Stamford Hill, where she and other family members already live.

The little boy, who weighed just 14lb when he was admitted to hospital last month, was released into the care of relatives last Friday.

At Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday, his mother was charged with starving him over a two-year period. A psychiatric evaluation last week found her to be fit for trial.

She has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, insisting that her son suffers from multiple illnesses which interfere with his eating.

Around £7,000 was donated to collections in London’s strictly Orthodox synagogues last Thursday, following Tisha B’Av minchah services, but the grandmother said the total was “not much when we have to get to $50,000”.

The fundraising effort was organised by relatives and the money will be used to pay for the mother’s legal costs and medical bills.

The grandmother said: “Too many people were away so there will be another collection after the summer holidays when people are back. It will cost us an arm and a leg when they come here. We would have to rent them a house.

“They could get benefits here. My son has many friends here and everybody will pitch in and make them feel as comfortable as possible.”

When the boy was first admitted to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital there was rioting within the city’s strictly Orthodox communities. The family claimed he had been suffering from cancer and said doctors had accused his mother in an attempt to cover up failings in their treatment.

The grandmother said she would like the family to move before the mother gives birth later this year.

“She does not like the hospitals in Jerusalem and cannot go to Hadassah because they might start on her again. Here in London they could be safe.

“I don’t know whether the Israeli authorities know, but as soon as the family can get out of there they are coming here. They will never get over the fright they have had otherwise.”

She made new allegations about the little boy’s treatment, saying he was now no longer suffering from cancer but had been injected with cortisone by doctors at Hadassah.

The Hadassah Medical Organisation previously said suggestions the boy had cancer were “completely baseless.”

    Last updated: 1:28pm, August 6 2009