Page last updated at 17:17 GMT, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Pregnant woman 'ingested toxins'

Child's deformed hands
Eighteen children were born with deformities to their hands and feet

A mother has claimed exposure to hazardous toxins during an industrial clean-up operation left her unborn daughter with lifelong disabilities.

Corby Borough Council is denying negligence during reclamation works at the site of town's former British Steel plant between 1985 and 1999.

Eighteen children born with deformities to their hands and feet claim exposure to a "toxic soup" of chemicals.

The council insists there is no link between the clean-up and any defects.

Carolyn Croft told the court she was pregnant with her daughter Sarah and regularly visited Corby to see her sister.

'Bit grubby'

Her daughter, now 17, is missing three fingers on her left hand and suffers weakness in her left arm.

Mrs Croft, who was living in Cambridgeshire at the time, is giving evidence on behalf of her daughter, one of 18 claimants who allege mismanagement of the operation.

She added that neither of her other children had any birth defects and neither she, nor Sarah's father, had any family history of them.

"I remember that Corby was always very dusty and dirty," she said.

Commenting on the dust in the area at the time, she told Mr Justice Akenhead: "I didn't necessarily associate it with anything in particular at the time, because I didn't know much about the work.

"I just thought it was a bit grubby, with lots of lorries and mud and dust."

The hearing continues.

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