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Last Updated: Monday, 6 December, 2004, 16:09 GMT
Defence worker's uranium claims
Richard David
Mr David claims depleted uranium injuries are not recognised in the UK
A former defence worker has claimed in the High Court that his life was made a "living hell" by exposure to depleted uranium at a British factory.

Richard David is claiming damages against Normalair Garrett - now owned by Honeywell Aerospace.

It denies depleted uranium was ever used at the plant in Yeovil, Somerset.

Mr David, 49, who lives in Seaton, Devon, told the hearing that the use of the metal was an official secret and that was why its existence was denied.

The last nine years has been a living hell hand-to-mouth existence
Richard David
"The subject matter causing my personal injury is a very complicated one and extremely controversial," he told the judge

"It may even be classified by the United Nations as an illegal weapon of mass destruction."

Mr David worked as component fitter on fighter planes and bombers, but left work through ill health in 1995.

He claimed medical tests had revealed mutations to his DNA and damage to his chromosomes which could only have been caused by ionising radiation.

He says he now suffers from a range of debilitating illnesses, including respiratory problems, kidney defects, bowel conditions and painful joints.

'Unusual health problems'

Mr David, who is representing himself in court, said radiation from the uranium isotope had completely ruined his health and robbed him of the ability to earn a living.

But he said depleted uranium injuries were not recognised in the UK and had escaped any regulatory control.

"The last nine years has been a living hell hand-to-mouth existence marked by many GP and hospital consultations for unusual and even very serious health problems," he said.

He said the factory where he worked was a "totally secure military programme industrial establishment".

"Because everything is classified as official secrets, workers are in a no man's land in terms of regulatory protection," he said.

The case continues.

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