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Camelford Water Poisoning: Inquest Verdict

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5:53am 14th March 2014
(Updated 5:53am 14th March 2014)

The family of a Tintagel man are given answers over whether his death could have been linked to the Camelford water poisoning.

Richard Gibbons died in 2010, having always maintained that he drank from the contaminated supply and it had damaged his health.

Twenty tonnes of aluminium sulphate was accidentally dumped in the wrong tank at Lowermoor in the 1980s.

In 2013, a report concluded that long-term health effects were unlikely.

But two years ago, a coroner said there was a 'real possibility' the incident had contributed to the death of Carole Cross who lived in the village at the time.

She died in 2004 and high levels of aluminium were found in her brain.

On Thursday, an inquest into the death of Richard Gibbons delivered a narrative verdict.

Sitting as the Assistant Deputy Coroner for Cornwall, Michael Richard Rose concluded that:

"Richard Charles Gibbons was exposed to aluminium poisoning at Tintagel in July 1988 and died on the 27th May 2010 and aluminium was found in high levels in his hippocampus after death.

"But a subsequent post mortem found the cause of death was aspiration of food due to an epileptic seizure.

"But a causal relationship between the aluminium and the seizure could not be established."

He has told Pirate FM that in his summing up, he said a link between the water poisoning and Mr Gibbons' death "couldn't be established at the moment but a link may be established in a few years' time after more research."

He added: “It was a disgrace. It should never, ever happen again.”

The amount of aluminium found in Mr Gibbons' brain was four and a half times the normal level.

Peter Smith from the Lowermoor Support Group is calling for a fresh inquiry - aided by the police if necessary.

He said: "Throughout this terrible, cynical cover-up those in power - charged with a public duty of care towards the 10,000 people of North Cornwall and the 10,000 UK and foreign visitors - have failed us all abjectly and are not fit for office.

"If anyone feels that we are dispirited by the Coroner's inability to return a miracle result for us, they would be wrong. He has done more for those affected than any public official so far and we thank him.

"The fact that research and medical care can be deliberately withheld from the citizens of this country is not only shameful but also completely and utterly insupportable and we call on decent politicians and people to support us in the 26th year of the exhausting struggle for justice."

5:53am 14th March 2014

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