Father of Aids victims breaks down in tears at infected blood inquiry

·3-min read

A father of two men who died of Aids after receiving infected blood products during treatment for haemophilia at school broke down in tears on Tuesday when paying tribute to his sons.

John Peach’s sons, Leigh and Jason Peach, were both pupils at the Lord Mayor Treloar College, in Hampshire, during the 1970s and 1980s.

The boys, along with several pupils at the school, were haemophilic and treated at an on-site NHS centre in addition to receiving an education at the boarding school.

Infected Blood Inquiry
John is pictured with his sons Jason and Leigh (Infected Blood Inquiry/PA)

The treatments the pupils received were later found to be infected with HIV and hepatitis.

Seventy-two former pupils at the school, who should now be in their 50s, have since died after being diagnosed with the diseases.

Both Jason and Leigh were found to have contracted HIV and hepatitis B in 1985 and were informed by their doctor, who was treating them at a hospital in Oxford.

Jason’s health deteriorated and he died of Aids in 1993, aged 23. Leigh’s case of HIV also progressed to Aids and he died five months later in 1994, aged 27.

Speaking at the Infected Blood Inquiry, Mr Peach, 75, gave evidence into the second day of hearings, which this week are focusing on evidence from former pupils at the school.

Infected Blood Inquiry
John is seen with Jason and Leigh when the pair were children (Infected Blood Inquiry/PA)

He said prior to the boys joining Lord Mayor Treloar College, they were receiving treatment of cryoprecipitate at the Oxford Haemophilia Centre before they were treated at home with the NHS’ supply of the product Lister, which came frozen.

However when they went to school, medical records showed during the inquiry revealed the boys began receiving treatment using products including Koate, Hemofil, Factor VIII and Kryobulin, as well as Lister.

When asked if he was informed they would begin being treated with the products or concentrates at school, he said: “No,” and became emotional as he responded.

Lead counsel Jenni Richards QC asked: “Were you ever told any information or any risks associated with the risks using concentrate?”

Mr Peach said: “No, this is the first time I’ve ever seen this [referring to the medical documents of his sons]. The only one I recognise is Lister.”

Ms Richards said: “Am I right in understanding, as far as you can recall, you and your wife never received any medical information from Treloar’s whatsoever?”

He replied: “No. We weren’t even informed when they had a bleed or anything like that really.”

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At the end of his evidence, Mr Peach requested to show three images of his sons, one at his wedding to his second wife and two when his sons were children.

When the images were shown during the inquiry, Mr Peach began to cry.

In a statement at the end, his voice cracked as he said: “I miss these boys every day.

“I want to thank you all, especially the witnesses, I don’t know how they got through it. Thank you for the time, the inquiry, it’s been a long, long time coming.”

He added it should be a “criminal act” the matter did not go through Parliament and those involved in the distribution and regulation of blood products have “a lot to answer for”.

“All I ever wanted was the truth, and I hope this inquiry answers it,” he said.

In a statement issued yesterday, the school, which has now rebranded as Treloar’s, said: “We are completely supportive of the campaign for truth, answers and justice by our former pupils.

“The experience of the people who contracted conditions when they should have been protected from harm was tragic and the truth about this must be brought out.”

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