Widow welcomes contaminated blood scandal inquiry - but calls for full police investigation

Carol Grayson
Carol Grayson

A widow and campaigner who has fought for justice over the contaminated blood scandal has welcomed a new inquiry but also called for a full police investigation.

Carol Grayson, 57, originally from Hartlepool, has spent more than a decade uncovering evidence related to the scandal - even submitting thousands of documents to the Government and official bodies which she says were largely ignored.

Carol Grayson and her late husband Peter Longstaff

Carol Grayson and her late husband Peter Longstaff

Mrs Grayson, from Jesmond in Newcastle, lost her haemophiliac husband Peter Longstaff in 2005 after he contracted HIV and hepatitis C from contaminated blood.

She wrote an MA thesis at Sunderland University on the global blood trade, which won an award, and which traced infected donors to Arkansas prisons.

Reacting to the Prime Minister's announcement of an inquiry, she said: "I'm pleased that an inquiry has been announced and I'm grateful to politicians that have stuck with us for so long.

"This cover-up has been going on for almost three decades and I've been largely ignored.

"I would like the inquiry to cover all the evidence that we've already covered, which includes complaints we've submitted to official bodies, including the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Government.

"We also need to look at why medical records were allegedly tampered with, and why we've been repeatedly ignored.

"We need to look at the behaviour of lawyers throughout all of this.

"I was able to trace my husband's treatment batch numbers back to Arkansas State Penitentiary, where prisoners were being paid to give blood samples.

"I also uncovered documents years ago showing that the Government knew about this.

"Among other evidence we have is the testing of haemophiliacs for HIV and hepatitis C without their knowledge and permission, and withholding positive test results.

"Some of them went on to infect their partners without even knowing it."

Mrs Grayson said some of the documents now being claimed as new evidence have actually been around for more than a decade.

She said her husband would have been pleased with the announcement of an inquiry but would have urged caution.

"Peter would say that he knew that I would not give up," she said.

"He would be pleased that I have stuck to my promise to fight for justice. But he'd also think I was exhausted by it and he'd be worried about me.

"He would have welcomed the inquiry - he was an optimist. He said years ago it was going to take a very long time to get there.

"But he'd also say treat the inquiry with caution. It really depends on the remit of the inquiry.

"I don't believe it will apportion blame. Alongside this inquiry, there needs to be a complete police investigation.

"I also want the inquest into my husband's death to be re-opened. It was left as an open verdict."

Mr Longstaff's brother Stephen, also a haemophiliac, died of Aids caused by infected plasma.