Co Tyrone mother 'not going to give up hope' of getting life-saving cannabis oil for son (12)

Charlotte Caldwell and her son Billy at Heathrow Airport yesterday after having a supply of cannabis oil used to treat his severe epilepsy confiscated on their return from Canada. Picture by Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Suzanne McGonagle and PA

A CO Tyrone woman said yesterday she is "not going to give up hope" of getting cannabis oil for her epileptic son after being stopped by customs officials at Heathrow airport attempting to bring the life-saving drug into the UK.

Charlotte Caldwell had made the trip to Canada and back with her son Billy (12) to get a six-month supply of the drug to treat his severe epilepsy.

But when they arrived into the London airport yesterday morning, the medication was confiscated as it is not certified for use in the UK.

The Castlederg woman was not cautioned and has vowed to repeat the attempt.

"I'm just going to turn around and go get some more and keep doing so until the UK authorities see sense," she said.

They had made the trip to Toronto after the cannabis oil was withdrawn last month.

Billy used to suffer up to 100 seizures every day before receiving treatment in America, where doctors gave him cannabis oil to help stop the episodes.

His mother embarked on a campaign to allow him to be granted the drugs at home and when they returned to Co Tyrone, Billy was offered a prescription for cannabis oil on the NHS.

He became the first person in the UK to receive a prescription after his local GP, Brendan O'Hare, began writing scripts. But the doctor was summoned to a meeting with Home Office officials recently and told to desist.

But on arriving at Heathrow yesterday, she was given a letter from Home Office Minister Nick Hurd, inviting her to a meeting to discuss the status of the drug.

She said she would discuss with the MP "parent to parent" after making the 20-hour trip between Toronto and London with her son.

She also told reporters that customs officers were "absolute gentlemen" and one became emotional as they took the drug from her.

"They are parents themselves and they were very conflicted about removing the medication from me; in fact. one of them had tears in their eyes when he was doing it," she said.

"They did not want to do it."

She added: "We will just go back to Canada and get more and I will bring it back again because my son has a right to have his anti-epileptic medication in his country, in his own home.

"Let me tell you something now - we will not stop, we are not going to stop, we are not going to give up, we have love, hope, faith for our kids and we are going to continue."

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