Couple fighting for closure over death of son, 10, who contracted HIV from infected blood

  • Watch Caron Bell's report

A couple from Nailsea say they will continue to strive to get justice for their 10-year-old son who was among thousands of people who died after being given infected blood products decades ago.

Colin and Denise Turton's son Lee was among 3,000 people who died after being given infected blood products in the 1970s and 80s.

They say they "need closure", adding: "We just hope that the truth comes out now and we can put closure on it and slightly move on with our lives because our whole life has been fighting."

They have been talking after Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave evidence for the first time at the Infected Blood Inquiry, during which he described the scandal in the 1970s and 80s as 'a tragedy'.

The Turtons told the inquiry Lee had been diagnosed with haemophilia soon after his birth in 1981 and had been given blood products to manage the condition.

But in 1985, the couple were told Lee had contracted HIV.

Lee was among thousands of people who died after being given infected blood products in the 1970s and 80s. Credit: Family Photo

Mrs Turton told the inquiry: "The pain of reliving what happened to Lee is nothing compared to the pain and suffering that he had in his short life.

"We lost our beautiful son and brother, as did so many parents."

The infections to those with haemophilia were principally caused by the plasma derived product known as Factor VIII.

During the inquiry, Mrs Turton said: "Haemophiliacs were fearing for their lives and the safety of the Factor VIII they were using.

"The Government knew the Factor VIII being used was infected, as did the pharmaceutical companies, and did nothing."

The inquiry heard after Lee died the family discovered he had also contracted hepatitis C.

Mrs Turton told the inquiry the family even decided to move to Cornwall after it was leaked to the press that Lee had HIV.

She said that parents had not wanted her son at the school and one teacher had said they would not teach Lee.She added: "He [Lee] wasn’t invited to friends, he wasn’t invited to parties, which was very hard not only for him but for his sister."So we decided to move from the area to look after him the best we could without anybody knowing who he was."

Factor VIII blood products. Credit: PA

The couple said Lee had been a "happy little boy" but that from around 1988 his health began to go downhill.

Mrs Turton said: "He couldn’t walk far, he couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t eat, he was eventually fed through a tube.

"It was just infection after infection, we spent most of the time in and out of hospital with him."

"When we got back to Cornwall they actually told us he had between two and 10 days to live.

"They said he had an infection on the brain, so we insisted he went home that day because that’s what he wanted to do, he kept asking, so we took him home.

"He died on the eighth day."

What is the contaminated blood scandal?

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 3,000 people died.

The inquiry is chaired by former High Court judge Sir Brian Langstaff who at the beginning of the evidence session reiterated his promise to put people at the heart of the probe.

He said there was still time for witnesses to come forward and added: “If you have given a witness statement, and would like to be heard, do not, please, think at the end of this set of hearings that you have lost any chance of that.

"I promised to put people who have been infected, or affected by the suffering of others, not only first but also last. There is time."

Read more: