A seven-year-old boy last spotted in Tiverton at the centre of a legal wrangle over the treatment of a brain tumour should undergo surgery, a court has ruled.

Neon Roberts, who stayed in Tiverton with his mum Sally while a nationwide search was on to find the pair, will have surgery tomorrow (Wednesday) to remove the remains of a brain tumour.

New Zealand-born Sally and Neon’s father Ben had been embroiled in a court battle over the boy’s treatment when they disappeared.

The pair were found in Sussex earlier this month and returned to the High Court, where doctors warned Neon could die if he did not have radiotherapy to treat the cancer. Speaking at today’s hearing, Mr Justice Bodey said he sympathised with Mrs Roberts, who is called for opinions from more doctors, but sided with experts who warned that it was ‘highly likely’ Neon would die within a ‘relatively short period’ without further treatment.

The judge told the court it was likely he would make a ruling by end of week on any further treatment, including radiotherapy. The hearing was adjourned until Thursday.