Widow tells inquiry of grief caused by contaminated blood scandal

A widow whose husband died after being given a contaminated blood product has spoke of her grief at an inquiry into the scandal.

Sharon Lowry's husband Richard was a mild hemophiliac who developed Hepatitis C after being infected in the 1970s.

In 2011, the highly respected teacher's family was told he was too ill for a second liver transplant. He eventually died of cirrhosis of the liver and renal failure.

His final months and days were filled with unimaginable heartache for Sharon and their two sons.

“He had had enough and he was so distressed I had to speak to staff and they had to give him something to sedate him, they couldn’t let him go on like that,” she told inquiry chair Sir Brian Langstaff in Belfast.

“So after that I don’t know what he knew, I just sat with him for days, talked to him, just waited for him to die.

Richard Lowry pictured with his two sons.

Seven and a half years on from Mr Lowry’s death and his family's pain is still raw and Mrs Lowry said they feel robbed.

“Sadly I feel as if I’m having to prove my husband’s life was important enough to matter. I consider it shameful this scandal has dragged on for so long and caused so much pain and grief to all those infected and affected,” she said.

“Richard was not only my husband he was a special dad to our two sons, he was my best friend, soulmate who I will always love and miss.

“It is thought around 5,000 people died after receiving contaminated blood across the UK , while many more were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C in what has been described as the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.”

Two other witnesses gave evidence on the final day of hearings sitting in Belfast.

There was spontaneous applause after Sharon Lowry became the latest person to share her heartbreak with the inquiry.

On Thursday a witness told Sir Langstaff the failure by governments to provide equal financial support across the UK has created a "hierarchy of victims".