Thursday, August 19, 1999 Published at 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
Police probe nerve gas centre death
Porton Down is now used to destroy chemical weapons
Police have launched an investigation at a government germ warfare research centre following fresh allegations about the death of an ex-servicemen during nerve gas tests 46 years ago.
It is the first time that the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (Dera), which runs the Porton Down facility, has faced a criminal investigation.
Human guinea pigs
Ronald Maddison was given a massive dose of Sarin dripped through his clothing with the purpose of finding out just how much it would take to kill a man in uniform,'' he told the BBC.
Wiltshire Police confirmed they were investigating Mr Bell's allegations about his poor health and the circumstances surrounding the death of Ronald Maddison.
The deputy head of Wiltshire CID, Detective Superintendent Gerry Luckett, told the BBC that charges could include administering a noxious substance, assault and corporate manslaughter.
Porton Down has not responded to the police announcement, but the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, part of the MoD, said it was aware of the investigation.
But Mr Bell says that many records about the tests have been destroyed.
In all, 300 ex-servicemen claim to have disabilities ranging from breathing difficulties to kidney complaints as a result of the tests.