Father of seven-year-old infected blood victim Colin Smith hopes for prosecutions after inquiry

  • ITV Cymru Wales health reporter Katie Fenton speaks with Colin and Janet Smith, whose seven-year-old son - also called Colin - died after contracting HIV and hepatitis C from contaminated blood products.

The father of one of the infected blood scandal’s youngest victims has said he wants to see prosecutions following the inquiry, which concludes today (Monday, 20 May).

Newport couple Colin and Janet Smith’s seven-year-old son, also called Colin, died in 1990 after contracting HIV and hepatitis C from contaminated blood products.

He is one of around 3,000 victims to have died and more than 30,000 infected in what has widely been described as the worst health scandal in UK history.

His parents have been campaigning for justice ever since, and believe the inquiry’s final report is "going to be a revelation to a lot of people".

The pair said they have not received any compensation, despite the inquiry recommending in April 2023 that parents and children should get payments.

The UK Government is expected to unveil a package worth at least £10billion for those affected.

Colin and Janet said they intend to spend any compensation on their other children and grandchildren. Credit: ITV Cymru/Wales

Janet also wants to receive an apology, saying: "I want it sincere, I want it from the heart.

"Our children and all people that have lost somebody, who are still fighting, still ill, deserve a real apology and that will go a long, long way. I just hope it’s not off the cuff.

"When Colin first died we really just thought it was an unfortunate accident. [But] he was used. He was a guinea pig.

"To be able to go up [to Colin’s grave], hopefully Tuesday, and say ‘you’ve done it darling, you have done it’, it’s going to be immense. It’s going to be tearful, but it’s going to be beautiful."

But for dad Colin, he doesn't feel an apology is appropriate.

"I’m not like Jan," he said. "I don’t think the time is right for an apology now, it’s too late.

"They’ve denied and denied and denied for nearly 40 years for some people, so an apology is just a splash in the ocean. I want proper compensation because it’s the only thing left open to us."

Now in their seventies, Colin's parents have campaigned for answers ever since Colin died. Credit: Family photo

Colin said he would also like to see people prosecuted for their actions.

"A few sources are saying there's a possibility of criminal charges," he said. "I'm hoping that's right.

"I’m hoping there’s a few people out there who are sweating now because it’s coming to a climax.

"There’s a lot of anger there. I look at my other sons and their kids and think about what he was robbed of.

"I’ve got grandchildren, I should have more. I should have another daughter-in-law. I should be able to go for a drink with him. All that was taken away, and that won’t be forgiven even after this.

"We went to so many funerals that we stopped going, it was just dragging us down. So many people you get to know and then all of a sudden they’re not there."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to make a statement in the House of Commons after the report is published.

Colin Smith died at the age of seven. Credit: Family photo

Now in their seventies and having campaigned for more than 30 years, Janet and Colin said they feel nervous about the future but are looking forward to enjoying their memories of Colin without the inquiry hanging over them.

Janet said: "It has been our life and it’s going to change, and I’m scared of the change I suppose, because I don’t know what it’s going to be like. I don’t know what it’s going to be like not fighting for Colin if it all gets settled.

"If we get the results that we’re expecting on Monday, it’d be lovely to take a deep breath, sit back, look at Colin’s pictures and say 'we can enjoy you now', because it’s been fight, fight, fight, fight. I want to enjoy my memories."

Colin said: "[He lived a] short seven years but the pleasure he actually brought into our life, even though he was seriously ill most of the time, it didn’t kill his sense of humour.

"He’d charge us £10 a mouthful for food when he couldn’t eat, and then he’d get to £40 or £50 and say ‘go and get me a box of Lego’. His hospital room was actually cram-packed with Lego.”

Janet added: "It’d be lovely to reminisce instead of fighting."

The Smiths recently rediscovered this photo of Colin. Credit: Family photo

The Smiths have previously revealed how the words "Aids dead" were painted on the side of their house in huge letters, and scratched into Colin’s car.

They plan to spend any compensation they receive on their other children and grandchildren, who alongside their brother and parents were ostracised by the community.

"That to me is from little Colin, it’s not from us," Janet said.

"That’s what Colin would want. They suffered too, they were known as the 'Aids kids'."

Colin added: "I’d like for the boys that are surviving to be able to just go away and live their life in peace, rather than constantly having to fight and fight and fight.

"It’s bad enough infecting them, but to make them fight for 40 years for justice, that’s cruel, just plain cruel.

"We’re bad enough, we’ve had to sit and watch our son die. But these lads have had to live with the consequences of what’s happened, and some of them got horrific illnesses and they’re still up and fighting. They deserve to win and they’re going to."

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