Infected blood widow says compensation is more about recognition of lives destroyed

Bon Threakall Credit: PA

A former deputy headteacher whose husband died in Birmingham after contracting HIV from contaminated blood said she will continue to campaign for those left out of Wednesday’s compensation announcement.

Sue Threakall’s husband, Bob Threakall, died in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in February 1991, aged 47, having suffered a marked deterioration in his health after being treated with the contaminated blood.

Mr Threakall, who had three children, had been a haemophiliac since birth, and contracted hepatitis B in 1981, and then HIV in 1985 – although his family said the extent of his illness was largely trivialised by medics at the time.

His case was typical of many haemophiliacs treated with the blood-clotting product in the 1970s and 1980s.

His widow, who now lives near Barnstaple in North Devon, is one of the people affected by the scandal eligible for the first wave of compensation identified by the Government as part of the ongoing Infected Blood Inquiry.

“There have been two tragedies – the tragedy of the fact that so many people in the population were exposed to these life-limiting viruses, and that we have had to fight tooth and nail for every tiny concession," she said.

“This is not just about money – it’s about recognition of people whose lives have been destroyed, young adults have grown up their whole life without their parents and they have not been recognised, and parents whose young children died in their arms."

“We’ve always said there will always be families out there who don’t know what they are eligible to claim. Their lives could have been so much better supported.”

“We still have a huge swathe of people whose lives were destroyed and who have not had anything, so we will continue to fight for them.”

Mrs Threakall gave evidence during the four-year public inquiry and described her husband, a former civil servant with the Department of Health, as “just an ordinary man living an ordinary life”.

"He was a great dad, partner, brilliant friend....He was good fun....He was practical, dependable, reliable and as honest and honourable as it was possible to be.”