A boy infected with HIV aged four due to the NHS tainted blood scandal was ostracised at school and even had a teacher refuse to teach him, his parents have said.

Lee Turton was diagnosed with the virus in 1985 after being given the infected blood product Factor VIII to treat his haemophilia– despite his family being told the concentrate was safe.

His father Colin Turton told the infected blood inquiry into the scandal yesterday: "We let it happen. We believed the professionals."

Meanwhile Lee's younger sister Kerry said she still suffers flashbacks of bullies telling her "to go die like her brother". Lee died as a result of HIV in 1992 aged ten.


More than 7,500 people were infected with HIV and hepatitis in the 1970s and 1980s via contaminated blood products – many of which were imported cheaply from the US.

The Turtons told the inquiry they had to move house after Lee and Kerry were "isolated" after news of Lee's infection got out before his first day at school. His mother Denise Turton said: "Somebody had leaked it to the Press that Lee was starting school and he was HIV positive so we had a lot of problems.

"Parents didn't want him at the school. There was a teacher at the school that wouldn't teach him... He wasn't invited to parties which was very hard – not only for him but for Kerry as well because they were both at school."

His sister Kerry described how she was bullied at school as a result of stigma. She said she still suffers flashbacks about being "beaten up and told to go die like her brother".

Mrs Turton, 58, said when Lee's health started deteriorating in 1989 they moved from Somerset to Cornwall to "give him the best childhood" they could "without anybody knowing who he was".

The inquiry in London heard around this time the boy would often tell his parents: "I'm frightened," could not sleep and suffered from night sweats.

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

"He had intermittent [periods] where he couldn't hear and some days he couldn't see. It was just infection after infection."

Video was played at the inquiry of Lee's last Christmas - he died a month later.
Video was played at the inquiry of Lee's last Christmas - he died a month later.

Mr Turton said before his son's condition worsened Lee was "a bright intelligent child, joking, always joking".

In the year before his death, Lee's parents said they were forced to sign a government waiver form after being told others would not receive ex-gratia payments if they refused.

"We kept refusing and then we had the solicitor saying, 'If you don't do it nobody else will get anything.' So we signed it," Mr Turton said.

The inquiry was shown Lee's medical records which revealed that he was infected with HIV from a batch of NHS concentrate just prior to heat treating being used to kill the viruses.

Concluding her evidence, Mrs Turton said: "The pain reliving what happened to Lee is nothing compared to the pain and suffering that he had in his short life... We listen to MPs shouting about fearing for their safety, 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 parents, who say they have both been prescribed anti-depressants because of their ordeal, said they have blamed themselves and each other over their son's death.

Mr Turton said: "We let it happen. We believed the professionals."

Lee is one of more 2,500 people to have died – with more dying every day – because of the blood scandal.