Felixstowe: Disabled woman disappointed as H-bomb case fails
A DISABLED woman who believes her deformities are a legacy of Britain’s nuclear bomb tests said today that she didn’t want compensation – just an apology.
Art student Amanda Coates has been left disappointed after the supreme court threw out a court case brought by veterans who had served in the military in the Pacific in the 1950s.
They were seeking compensation for a series of medical problems they believe radiation poisoning has caused them and their families over the years.
But Miss Coates – who was born without part of her left leg or a kneecap, her thigh twisted the wrong way round, and with the tops of her fingers missing after her father Brian Coates spent time on Christmas Island – says the money wasn’t important.
“What I had been hoping for was recognition from the MOD that the medical problems I have had since birth were because of those nuclear tests, an apology, and for authorities to say we have learned from those mistakes,” said Miss Coates, 48, of Brightwell Close, Felixstowe.
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“I have been in touch with many children of servicemen who were out in the Pacific and many of them have suffered very similar health problems to me.
“I am very disappointed because it seems as if the case was defeated on a technicality.
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“I feel sorry for the servicemen who suffered and received nothing.
“If the MoD had not spent three years fighting this and paying legal experts, all that money could have just been given to the veterans as compensation for what they have suffered.
“We will keep on fighting but this is probably the end of the road.”
More than 1,000 servicemen had been seeking compensation but the supreme court has now thrown out the claims against the Ministry of Defence, saying it was too long since the incident happened for a case to be brought.
Mr Coates, now 75, served with 217 Squadron on Christmas Island in 1959. He told his family servicemen were ordered to turn round and cover their eyes when the atomic bombs were detonated offshore.
An MoD spokesman said: “The MOD recognises the debt of gratitude we have to the servicemen who took part in the nuclear tests. They were important tests that helped to keep this nation secure at a difficult time in terms of nuclear technology.”