- Luke Maguire and Louise McKever claimed son Bobby was injured by Bexsero Meningitis B vaccine
- Video uploaded to FB showed Bobby having seizures after the jab has had over three million views and 44,000 shares
- After refusing further vaccines, they were harassed by police and social services
- Social worker told parents that if they stopped talking about vaccines publicly, they would stop hounding them
- Baby Bobby 'stolen' at gunpoint in Sunday morning police raid after Luke was falsely arrested for being in possession of a firearm
- The family believe they've been set up.
In a radio interview last week, 27-year-old father-of-one Luke Maguire describes how the police and social services hounded his family over a period of three days, then turned up with social workers and removed 20-month-old Bobby, after saying that he was in danger because his parents were paranoid and were refusing to vaccinate him.
Last December, The Sun ran a story about the side-effects baby Bobby suffered immediately after having the controversial Bexsero Meningitis B vaccine when he was 16 weeks old. But the problems started when he was given the first dose at eight weeks of age.
"At the two month vaccine, Bobby developed a twitch," dad Luke said during a radio interview. "We knew straight away it was from the vaccines as it started that night. He was sleepy, floppy and pale. But after we alerted the nurses to the twitching, they assured us that vaccines were 100% safe."
Mr. Maguire and his partner Louise McKever, 23, from Ashington, Northumberland, were adamant Bobby wasn't going to have the second round of vaccines. At that time, they hadn't done any research into vaccines, but they instinctively knew that it was the vaccines that were to blame for their child's symptoms.
When the couple mentioned their concerns, they were told that they had to get the vaccines done or that they would get a court order to remove Bobby from their care. So they reluctantly agreed.
After the second dose - at 16 weeks - Bobby reacted badly again and screamed a high-pitched scream for two hours after the jabs. At A & E, the diagnosis was that Bobby was having a vaccine reaction.
Bobby's twitching continued, then 10 days later, he became very floppy, grey in colour and extremely sleepy. That night, Luke and Louise woke to Bobby having a seizure. They went straight to A & E, where Bobby had another seizure and they referred the family to a specialist hospital.
"I pushed for tests," says Luke. "I wanted an MRI scan and all the tests available, but they weren't in a hurry to give us the tests. They were asking about whether anyone in the family had seizures or epilepsy. I told them that my brother started having seizures after a car accident aged 21, so the doctor then diagnosed Bobby with Complex Genetic Epilepsy Syndrome and gave us a prescription for Levetiracetam."
Luke and Louise weren't happy with the diagnosis. "I confronted the specialist about this, saying it couldn't be genetic because there's no epilepsy in my family. I informed her that my brother's seizures were due to brain damage after his accident - that the epilepsy wasn't a genetic condition - so I asked for a gene test to be done. They did it but we haven't had the results for that yet."
At home, Luke began his research. Up until that point, he hadn't singled out any one vaccine but he soon decided the culprit was Bexsero. He'd obtained the vaccine insert - a leaflet which comes with the vaccine that doctors rarely show to patients and which many doctors don't even read themselves - and approached his GP for a chat about what he'd discovered.
Luke explains: "Bexsero only got licensed in September 2015 and 'seizures' is listed as a side-effect. When I showed the doctor this, she didn't like it. She said she was going to send me out a new reply to my complaint as I had 'foundation evidence.' I never got a reply to that complaint but, after I left, she contacted social services and made a referral about me, saying that she was very concerned about my mental health, about Bobby's health and about my research and how it was affecting Bobby.
When social services made contact with us, they listed off all the referrals and one was from the doctor - from two days after the date of my visit. The doctor had said I seemed anxious, paranoid and aggressive. I was nervous, but definitely not aggressive. This type of stuff hits a spot when you mention it to doctors, when people speak out about vaccines, and the thought of talking about it made me very nervous."
Just before Xmas last year, Luke posted a video of Bobby on Facebook, and immediately faced the wrath of the social services. "One told us to be quiet, that we were making too much noise about vaccines. She told me in front of two police officers - and I have a recording of her saying this - to stop talking publicly about vaccines, then they'd leave us alone. I said to the police officer 'can she say that?' and the police officer said 'no, she can't.' But by that time, I'd got the story in the newspapers."
Things seemed to quieten down after that for a while, but the couple became very worried about how they were being treated and started reading up on what kind of powers the social services actually have.
Louise and Luke decided to go along with what was asked of them and dutifully attended meetings and appointments at the health centre for Bobby.
Then suddenly, nine months after the stories ran in the press about the family, the harassment began. After a series of phone calls, social workers arrived one day with two police officers.
"They'd always try to get Louise on her own," Luke says. "I'd get called to a meeting at the health centre and as soon as I'd left, the police and social workers would go to the house, banging on the door, shining lights through the window. If I wasn't there, Louise just ignored them, refusing to answer the door.
Eventually though, we let the police in but said we didn't want social workers in. I told the police to ask the social workers to stop harassing us. I'd get through to the police - several of them were parents themselves and said they would be reacting the same as us if they were in this situation."
The police reported that Bobby was well looked after and said they were happy with the situation and told Luke and Louise that wouldn't come back.
"By this time, I was dealing with the director of social services in the NE of England," says Luke. "We'd put in several complaints saying we were being bullied. I had lots of recordings of social workers, lying and contradicting themselves. I sent her evidence, recordings, told her she was responsible for these social workers. I never got a reply back."
The harassment continued, with ten or more phone calls a day and police and social workers coming to the house all times of the day and night. Luke describes one occasion when a male social worker came to the door when Luke was out and Louise had no idea who he was. He was banging on the door, shouting 'Louise, let me in!' He had no ID or anything and didn't say who he was."
Despite this constant bombardment, the family still attended health visitor meetings and doctor's appointments. They were told by all that they were doing well.
Then on Friday September 29th, a social worker came to their home. Luke and Louise - totally fed up by now - denied them access. The next day, a warrant was issued. At 8:50 on the Sunday morning - October 1st - the police kicked the front door down and charged in.
"All I heard was: "POLICE! POLICE!"," recalls Luke, "then they were in the room. They handcuffed me at gunpoint, separated me from Louise - wouldn't let us talk - and arrested me and took me to the police station, where they questioned me, then said I was free to go. I thought I was going home to see Bobby. My mum picked me up. I got in the car and I knew straight away something was wrong. She just said: "they've took Bobby." I couldn't believe it. She had to say it three times before it sank in."
When Luke got home, he discovered the house in a terrible state. He claims the police had "ripped our house apart" as they searched for firearms. Louise told him that social services took photos of the mess. "There were drawers and tellies on our bed, they'd emptied everything out, they pulled the bag of rubbish out of the bin and emptied it on the floor and took pictures of this for the judge to make the judge think that's how the house was."
After searching the house for two and a half hours, the social workers declared that the house was not a suitable environment for Bobby and that there was no proper food there for him. "We don't use baby food from jars or follow-on milk," explains Luke.
"We feed Bobby fresh, non-GMO, organic food and he drinks hemp and oat milk. The social workers have never liked us doing that. They always wanted him on cow's milk. We always had disagreements about that but I didn't think it would lead to this."
During the raid, Bobby's mum Louise was beside herself. They told her after Luke had left that Bobby was going to be taken away. But Luke says what they did next was downright torturous. "They made her wake him up, feed him, dress him, then allowed her to play with him for 20 minutes before handing him over."
Luke claims that taking Bobby wasn't an on-the-spot decision. He later discovered that two days prior to the raid, a pre-arranged foster placement had been made for Bobby. "The court order was made at 9am, nine minutes after they entered our property," says Luke, "yet in the paperwork they say they spent two and a half hours searching the house before the decision was made."
Since then, the couple have sought legal advice. "My solicitor is saying there's something not right about this case," says Luke. "The way I was set up... the contradictions in all the statements... the way it never went to magistrates or district, they referred it straight to a high court to a circuit judge. It didn't go to a family law judge but to the highest judge in the Crown Court."
Social workers have informed Luke and Louise that Bobby is in a very distressed state at the moment. In the last two weeks, they have been allowed to see their son twice. One of those times, Luke says he noticed bruises on Bobby's arm. He was understandably alarmed. "As soon as I went to get my phone out to take pictures, the social worker called the police. They said that Bobby had pinched himself but I know he doesn't have the motor skills to do that. To me, it looked like bruises from a canula..."
During last week's radio interview, the interviewer aske whether they'd have considered leaving the country had they known what was coming. Luke replies: "No, we won't run from them, we're in the right, we've done nothing wrong. We have a case against them, a mountain of evidence... But what they say goes. They can walk into a house, and they can manufacture any story they want and the judge will go along with that story and side with them even if the story is 100% a load of lies."
Mr Maguire has spoken to his local MP Ian Lavery but says he was no help at all. "He basically said there's nothing he can do."
And it seems, for now, there's nothing Louise and Luke can do either.
"All we're doing now is waiting," sighs Luke. "Waiting for Bobby to come home."
What is Meningitis B?
Meningitis B is a bacterial infection, most often striking in children under one year old.
Symptoms include a high temperature with cold hands and feet, confusion, vomiting and headaches.
If caught early and treated with antibiotics, most people will make a full recovery.
There are about 1,200 cases each year in the UK.
The Bexsero jab - which is produced in E. coli cells by recombinant DNA technology - has been given to children at eight weeks, 16 weeks and one year old since September last year as part of the routine vaccinations offered free of charge on the NHS to all children in the UK.
Almost 8,000 people, including more than 5,000 babies and toddlers were given the vaccine during clinical trials to test its safety.
It's said to provide 73 per cent protection against Meningitis B, which affects nearly 1,900 children each year.
In 2014, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said 'routine infant or toddler immunisation using Bexsero is highly unlikely to be cost effective' and the jab's efficacy had not been established.
But the committee's final position statement the following year changed this view after pricing negotiations, instead recommending Bexsero should be included in the NHS immunisation schedule.
A spokesman for the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said: 'The safety of the Meningitis B vaccine has been thoroughly investigated in clinical trials and since then we estimate that over 1.4 million doses of the vaccine have been given in the UK.
'There is currently insufficient evidence to suggest an association between the Meningitis B vaccine and seizures.
'The safety profile of the vaccine is as expected and raises no safety concerns. MHRA keeps the safety of Bexsero, as with all medicines, under continuous review.