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Blood scandal victim infected as a child slams ‘peddlers of death’ behind trial

Inquiry told 50 schoolboys were placed on a trial involving American products in the 1980s

A nurse taking blood (Anthony Devlin/PA)
A nurse taking blood (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Haemophiliac schoolboys were placed on a trial of American blood products which led to them being infected with HIV, the official inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal has been told.

Adrian Goodyear, who had been diagnosed with severe haemophilia when he was about six months old, said he was one of 50 schoolboys placed on the trial in 1982.

Three years later in May 1985, when he was 15, he was taken to a room with four other haemophiliacs where a doctor told each one whether or not they had contracted HIV.

Those who had been infected were given two or three years to live, he told the inquiry.

Mr Goodyear said he believes that he was infected with HIV from the American blood products he was given as part of the eight-month trial.

And he described the trial’s organisers  as “peddlers of death” who “groomed” the children with free gifts.

Looking back now it was like being groomed by peddlers of death Adrian Goodyear

He said he was not told anything about being put in a product trial.

He added: “The doctor chose 50 of us for that trial.

“The nurse relayed back to us one day there was one batch that infected you boys with HIV, one batch.

“She didn’t mean one batch, she meant one line of products.

“I do personally believe those are the lines that infected us with HIV as children.”

Mr Goodyear said he was at Treloar School for children with disabilities outside Alton, in Hampshire, when he was placed on the trial.

When asked if he believed every boy at Treloar on the trial contracted HIV he said “yes”.

Mr Goodyear said that the children were also provided with gifts from pharmaceutical companies such as backpacks, stationery and watches.

In his statement, read to the inquiry, he said: “Looking back now it was like being groomed by peddlers of death, but at the time we were happy with the set up as they were freebies.”

Mr Goodyear was giving evidence during the second round of witness hearings in central London

The contaminated blood scandal has been labelled the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Thousands of patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s. Around 2,400 people died.

After the diagnosis Mr Goodyear said the haemophiliacs felt “diseased” and the school began enforcing a rule that students were not to go within six inches of each other, with teachers using measuring tapes to check whether the students were far enough apart.

He said: “We felt diseased, that made us feel diseased, isolated.

“We were walking disease.”

The inquiry also heard from Irene Ruth Spellman and Su Gorman, who both lost their husbands to hepatitis C-related illnesses.

Ms Spellman’s husband of 30 years, Bill, died aged 65 in 2009 after receiving contaminated blood products during his treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia.

The mother-of-three said his doctor told them in 1993 that he had given Mr Spellman “polluted blood” that was imported from the American prison system.

Ms Spellman, who is chief executive and general-secretary of the Workers’ Educational Association, added: “My biggest regret is that he didn’t walk down the aisle with his two lovely daughters, he will not be at his son’s wedding this year and never met his grandson Henry.”

Ms Gorman’s husband Steve died on December 23 last year after receiving contaminated blood products during treatment for his mild haemophilia.

In a video message played at the end of her evidence, he said he wanted to understand how so many warnings from as early as the 1950s were ignored, how “a small, vulnerable part of their community” was put at such a severe risk and who was responsible.

The inquiry, led by former High Court judge Sir Brian Langstaff, will continue to sit in London for the rest of the week.

PA

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