From The ONE CLICK Group
One Click Note. Wessely Unravels. The Daily Mail has now elected to expose the lethal cover-up of what was done to the residents of Camelford in Cornwall in one of Britain’s worst health scandals that took place in July 1988.
One of the primary architects of this lethal cover-up was psychiatrist Professor Simon Wessely (firstname.lastname@example.org ), notorious for his equally scandalous cover-ups of the biomedical plight of Gulf War Veterans and ME/CFS labelled patients.
In the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Vol 39, No 1. pp.1 9. 1995, Wessely together with his colleague Anthony David, published a paper entitled The Legend Of Camelford : Medical Consequences Of A Water Pollution Accident (http://tinyurl.com/3a4fev ). “There was little cause for concern,” announced Wessely.
Accusing Camelford residents of somatisation and the media of irresponsible reporting of this water-poisoning incident, Wessely blamed those affected of sensationalising their symptoms in order to get compensation.
It is high time that psychiatrist Simon Wessely and his associates were cast out by their profession, further exposed for the charlatans that they are and that respective governments cease to fund their activities that do so much damage to patients.
Simon Wessely et al have brought psychiatry into terminal disrepute. The Daily Mail now confims what so many patients who have passed through Wessely’s hands have known for decades – that this psychiatrist specialises specifically in cover-ups designed purely to save government funds. The evidence mounts year on year.
14/12/07 – News section
By SUE REID
At first glance, Angela Franks looks in good health.
Standing on the seafront in her hometown of Exmouth, the wind ruffles her strawberry blonde hair and the long skirt which she wears down to her ankles. The illusion, however, is short-lived.
As she starts to walk, it is with a heavy limp and within 50 yards she is so exhausted that her entire body shakes uncontrollably.
After Angela finally reaches the local coffee shop, the trembling of her swollen legs is so bad that the table rocks haphazardly, threatening to spill her mug and croissant onto the floor.
No wonder, near to tears, she declares bravely: “When I am dead, I want an autopsy done on my body. It might help all the people who, like me and my two children, drank the water in Camelford all those years ago.”
For she and her family were victims of one of Britain’s most high-profile public health scandals in which victims complained of brain damage, memory loss and joint problems.
They were enjoying a caravan holiday in the picturesque north Cornish town when the country’s worst water pollution incident happened on July 6, 1988.
A relief delivery driver turned up at the local Lowermoor water treatment works on the edge of Bodmin Moor with a 20 ton load of highly caustic aluminium sulphate, which is used to clear cloudy water ready for drinking. The toxic chemical was accidentally tipped into the wrong tank, feeding water to Camelford.
Ninety minutes later, out of the taps in a 140-square-mile area of Cornwall, came a foul water which poisoned everyone who drank it.
Angela has never spoken out until now.
But finally, after two decades of stone-walling by the authorities, alarming facts about the Camelford water incident are beginning to emerge.
This week, a coroner opening the inquests of two women who lived in the area at the time called for a new police investigation into the tragedy.
He said the Devon and Cornwall constabulary must “look into the allegations of a possible cover-up”.
He acted following the discovery that both dead women had “high levels” of aluminium in their brains, which could not have got there by chance.
Disturbingly, the tests on the women are the first of their kind although it is thought that up to 20,000 local people and 10,000 holidaymakers – like Angela – unwittingly drank the Camelford water in the hours and days after the spillage.
Hundreds began to suffer effects after drinking or bathing – including skin peeling, hands and lips sticking together, hair turning green and fingernails blue.
By nightfall that day, people were vomiting and had diarrhoea. Next morning, many had skin burns, aching joints and mouth ulcers that took weeks to heal.
Angela’s family – which included her seven-month-old daughter, Cherie, whom she had just stopped breast-feeding – and a son, Daniel, of 20 months, were no exception.
Less than two hours after the Camelford spillage, she made a cup of tea in the holiday caravan and the milk curdled. Angela threw it away, boiled the kettle and made a cup of black coffee instead using water from the tap.
Almost immediately she began to feel queasy.
Later that evening, when she washed her children, they screamed as the water touched their skin and stung their eyes.
In the caravan, she put the children to bed.
“Cherie was hysterical at one point. Her eyes were red. She had diarrhoea, so I didn’t like to give her milk. Instead, I made up a bottle of boiled water from the tap.
“I didn’t realise it then, but I was poisoning my own baby,” she says.
The following day, Angela’s hair was bleached white as a result of the shower she had the night before. Cherie had nappy rash. Daniel was sickly.
John, her husband, had mouth ulcers.
Assuming they had suffered a simple bout of food poisoning, they continued to drink tea made with tap water and gave the children orange juice, diluted with the same water.
“We were told nothing,” remembers Angela.
“We had no idea every drop of water in the whole area was dangerous to drink.
“We went to the doctor and he said there had been other people with the same symptoms.
“He gave Cherie some Calpol. He said she must have caught a bug. He never told us not to touch what was coming out of the taps.”
As the family left the surgery, loudhailer vans appeared, telling everyone that there was something wrong with the water.
“They said it would not hurt anyone and to disguise the taste of the water with orange juice.
“I begged the lady at the caravan site to give me some fresh water to feed the baby. The next day we went home,” she says.
A few months later Angela became ill.
She was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph glands of the leg.
She had an operation to remove the resulting malignant growth on her left thigh. She has since undergone another operation to remove a new growth on the same leg.
“At the time, I didn’t blame the Camelford water,” she explains.
“Then, as more and more people from that area began to complain of sickness, I realised that it could be the cause of my problems.”
Angela also has osteoporosis in her neck.
Her specialist believes she may have a neurological complaint which causes her to shake.
There is also speculation that her brain has been damaged and she has early onset Alzheimer’s.
Meanwhile, her daughter, now a beautician, is constantly tired.
Her son a is keyboard player and guitarist but the joints in his hands have become inexplicably painful.
“I have to wonder if they have been damaged by the Camelford water too,’ she adds.
“No one knows what the long-term effects will be of feeding a baby and a toddler amounts of water that contained between 500 and 3,000 times the maximum levels of aluminium that was safe.”
Yet it is the apparent cover-up by successive governments that disturbs her – and others who fear they were poisoned.
Three children at the local nursery school, where orange juice diluted with the water was served to pupils, were later
diagnosed with leukaemia.
In a single street of Camelford, 13 residents have died of cancer.
Carole Cross died in 2004 aged >58.
An autopsy revealed abnormally high levels of aluminium in her brain and she had suffered a neurological disease. Her case is one of the two at the centre of the new police investigation.
Her widower, Douglas, says: “The amount of aluminium in my wife’s brain was equivalent to one teaspoonful of that water – yet it killed her.
“There have been myriad unexplained illnesses here – and nearly two decades of those in authority ignoring a catastrophe.
“I believe at least 20 people have died from drinking the water.”
But is he right? After all, cancer and other illnesses can occur in clusters without apparent cause.
Yet what is so troubling about Camelford is that key facts have been obscured.
A Mail investigation into the events of that July in Cornwall has uncovered a crucial and unpublished police report which shows the Camelford treatment plant was not supervised at the time of the fateful delivery.
The relief delivery driver, from a Bristol chemical company, had never been there before and was given an eight-year-old key to the plant by another driver. Dangerously, the key fitted almost every lock on the gates and manhole covers used by the South West Water Authority, a public body that supplied the area with water.
Yet the driver was simply told that “once inside the gate, the aluminium sulphate tank is on the left”.
No wonder he made such a disastrous mistake.
The police report explains what happened next.
“The driver looked around, on the left, and he found a manhole cover which he tried with the key. It unlocked. Thinking he had found the right place he discharged his load, pouring the aluminium sulphate into the tank.”
But it was not the storage tank, where the aluminium sulphate would have reacted to draw out impurities from the water.
It was the tank holding treated water just before it was about to go into thousands of homes.
The result, concludes the hitherto unpublished police account, was “a massive and instant contamination of the water supply.”
Worse was to follow. For days, the water authority insisted the water was safe.
Officials took nearly a week to identify the cause of the poisoned water and ten more to reveal it in a tiny advertisement in the local paper.
We have also been handed an explosive letter which reveals how officialdom set out to downplay the Camelford disaster and any wrong-doing by the water authority, which was about to be privatised by the Conservative government of the day.
The letter from a water official to Michael Howard, then Minister of State for Water and Planning, states that a police
investigation into the poisoning incident was viewed as “very distracting”.
It goes on to say that any subsequent prosecution of South West Water would also “be totally unhelpful to privatisation . . . and render the whole of the water industry unattractive to the City”.
So, did these commercial concerns contribute to the fact that the people of Camelford were first lied to and then ignored?
There has never been a public inquiry and, all too often, those who complained were labelled neurotic troublemakers.
The Mail has learned that even local doctors – perhaps advised by the local health authority – turned away those who were suffering ill-effects, telling them “it is all in your mind”.
But some refused to be silenced.
Douglas Cross remembers the moment he discovered the disaster in the town where he worked as a freelance forensic scientist.
“It was the morning after.
“I had had a cup of tea, the water stayed clear but there was something in the bottom of the cup. I was suspicious immediately. I went out to look at the river and saw all the fish in the water dead. I picked out five and brought them home.
“Later, when I tested them, I found they had 70 times the normal amount of aluminium.
“At least 50,000 fish were killed, and 40 lambs in one field where they drank from a mains tap died or were very ill. The 200 animals in a field nearby which had drunk spring water remained well.
“Pigs, dogs, rabbits and cattle became sick. Over 40 Muscovy ducklings died at one farm, 1,300 hens at another.
“Yet they kept saying humans couldn’t be hurt by it. Well if animals, why not people?”
The water was, indeed, deadly. It contained not only aluminium sulphate but other noxious substances, too. As the acidic liquid travelled from the plant into people’s homes, it corroded the copper pipes and their soldered joints, made of zinc and lead.
“We were drinking a cocktail of metals and god knows what else,” adds Mr Cross angrily.
“We were also advised to boil the water.
“This was even more dangerous advice because it concentrates the contaminants.
“They kept flushing the pipes out for months after the incident.
“This will have stirred up debris in the bends and only have lengthened the amount of time the water was coming through the taps with all sorts of metals in it.”
However, when Mr Cross’s wife first began to lose her mind, he did not blame the Camelford water.
He cannot recall her drinking the water, but now believes she must have done.
For two years before her death, she began to have trouble counting change. She would put out her hand to the shop assistant asking for it to be worked out for her.
She forgot how to paint, a hobby at which she excelled.
Finally, Douglas took her to Taunton hospital, near their home in Somerset.
“It was at the hospital, the day before she died, that the penny dropped,” he recalls.
“I thought she might get better when the consultant – who had no idea of our Camelford links – came up to me and said it looked like metal poisoning.
“The next thing, a German locum took me aside. He said they saw a lot of this kind of brain problem in Germany and it was caused by aluminium poisoning.”
Mr Cross contacted West Somerset coroner Michael Rose and explained his fears.
The coroner asked neuropathologist Professor Margaret Esiri and her team at Oxford University to examine Mrs Cross’s brain and spinal cord.
The results found high levels of aluminium which may have caused her condition: beta amyloid angiopathy, a form of cerebrovascular disease usually associated with Alzheimer’s. There was no history of the ailment in her family.
“If the coroner decides my wife was unlawfully killed or there was misadventure because of an industrial accident, then we will have touched the truth,” adds Mr Cross.
Two reports by Government appointed advisory groups in 1989 and 1991 each concluded there was no evidence of aluminium poisoning of people in the Camelford area.
They claimed that any suffering had been provoked by anxiety rather than damage to health.
The result? The pollution tragedy was swept under the carpet.
As for South West Water, in 1991 the authority was prosecuted for supplying water likely to endanger public health and fined a minuscule £10,000 with £25,000 costs.
Mysteriously, there were no convictions by the police.
Four years later, after a civil action against the authority, 148 people won an out-of-court settlement in compensation for any distress caused.
It amounted to a pitiful £400,000. There was no public apology.
Angela Franks received £600 for the disruption of her holiday.
Of course, the money meant nothing compared with her wrecked health.
Today, at 46, she runs a boutique in the market at Exmouth, Devon with a new partner. Her marriage broke up as her health deteriorated.
Today, she says: “We only went to Camelford because our daughter was no longer breastfeeding and on a bottle.
“John and I were a young couple with two lovely children just wanting to enjoy a family holiday.
“Now I believe that I was encouraged to poison my own children.
“I feel so guilty about giving them the water. Never a day goes by without me remembering Camelford and wishing we had never gone there.”
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