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Last Updated: Friday, 25 July, 2003, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Gulf soldier urges inquiry in will
gulf soldiers
A number of Gulf War veterans believe they suffer related illness
A Gulf War veteran who believed his cancer was caused by exposure to radiation asked in his will for his fears to be investigated.

But a coroner said he could not link Stephen Childs' death from cancer of the pancreas with his service in the Middle East and ruled that he died from natural causes.

Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan coroner Lawrence Addicott heard that Mr Childs, 47, who received multiple inoculations both before and during his service in the Gulf, worked in an area affected by depleted uranium.

Mr Childs' widow Karen told the inquest that about 50 soldiers who served in the same area had already died from illnesses related to their Gulf service.

The Army sergeant, of Tydfil Street, Barry, died in November 2000 after chemotherapy failed to stem the spread of the cancer to his liver and lymph nodes.

He went to a Gulf Veterans Association meeting where everyone was talking about depleted uranium
Widow Karen Childs
Mrs Childs said her husband's health deteriorated after he returned from the Middle East.

The inquest heard that her husband looked thinner and unwell on his return from the conflict and Mr Childs' sweat began to smell of latex.

"He never looked well and was always tired," she said in a statement read to the court.

"He lost his temper over small issues. He sweated a lot too."

Mr Childs went on to suffer from stomach pains and chest pains and was diagnosed with heart problems by his GP.

But the diagnosis was later reconsidered and Mr Childs began another round of treatment for a stomach ulcer.

Doctors eventually decided to carry out a full body scan on Mr Childs after discovering a blockage in his stomach.

The scan showed a large tumour in the pancreas which had spread to the liver and adjacent lymph nodes.

'No specific cause'

Pathologist Dr Allen Gibbs told the inquest that scientific papers did not suggest a link between cancer of the pancreas and depleted uranium.

He said: "We don't have a specific cause of the cancer and we can't say it was Gulf War syndrome."

Commenting on an examination of Mr Childs' lungs, Dr Gibbs said that he did not find an abnormal number of particles of uranium, and he did not find a cause for the latex smell.

Mr Addicott concluded: "It has taken some time to come to this point. Dr Gibbs has tried to establish a link with uranium but he has not been able to do so."

He recorded a verdict that Mr Childs died from natural causes.

Mr Childs, who was born in Evesham, Worcestershire, served in the army for 21 years with the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers.

He served in Northern Ireland before leaving for the Gulf in 1991 with the Army's tank transporters.

Mrs Childs tearfully described how her husband asked her in his will to investigate his belief that depleted uranium was the cause of his fatal illness.

After the hearing, she said: "He went to a Gulf Veterans Association meeting where everyone was talking about depleted uranium and he wanted me to follow it up."

She added that she did not believe in Gulf War syndrome and had always believed her husband died from natural causes.

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