Mother who lost son to infected blood scandal believes inquiry can get to the truth

The mother of a Belfast man infected with HIV as a teenager says she believes the Infected Blood Inquiry can get to the truth.

Lynda Walker was speaking as the Inquiry completed its final day of public evidence in London.

Her son Russell was treated for hemophilia with contaminated blood products during the 1980s and infected with HIV aged just 18.

Russell was 27 when he passed away, one of over 3,000 patients across the UK who’ve died as a result of the scandal.

Ten of thousands were infected, including more than 100 people in Northern Ireland and victims continue to die as a result.

It’s been described as the biggest treatment disaster in the history of the NHS.

Lynda told UTV she believes the Inquiry can uncover what happened.

“I do think it has got to the truth. It has shed some light and it’s brought us together as a community to share our experiences.”

The Infected Blood Inquiry is the largest ever in UK history. Since 2018, over 300 witnesses have given evidence and thousands of documents have been examined.

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major and former Health Minister Kenneth Clark have been among those called to give evidence.

Solicitor Des Collins, who represents some of the more than 100 victims in Northern Ireland, described the scandal as a cover up on an industrial scale.

"It was a dreadful scandal and successive government administrations refused to admit they got it wrong.”

In the 1970s and early 1980s blood products were manufactured from blood imported into the UK from risky sources.

They contained diseases like HIV and Hepatitis.

It’s alleged many doctors used treatments despite knowing the dangers and that patients were not told of the risks.

Lynda want to see those responsible held to account.

“We’re talking about justice really. If there is the possibility of prosecutions, of people being made accountable for what they’ve done I would say yes.”

Inquiry Chair Sir Brian Lanstaff thanked all witnesses for their participation.

He’s expected to release his findings in late summer.

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