Page last updated at 19:13 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 20:13 UK

Radiation 'caused soldier death'

Stuart Dyson
Stuart Dyson was exposed to uranium while cleaning tanks, the inquest heard

A former soldier's death from colon cancer was probably caused by exposure to depleted uranium during the first Gulf War, an inquest jury has found.

Stuart Dyson, 39, of Brownhills, West Midlands, died last June - 17 years after his involvement in the 1991 war.

He was exposed to depleted uranium from anti-tank shells near the wrecks of tanks, the inquest heard.

In a narrative verdict the jury said it was more likely than not this had "caused or contributed" to his death.

Professor Christopher Busby told the jury particles may have settled in Mr Dyson's intestine.

He said the cancer was "more likely than not" caused by ingestion and inhalation of the substance during his service in the Gulf.

'Extremely young'

He said: "It [uranium] is actually much more dangerous than it originally appeared to be.

"The interesting thing about Mr Dyson's cancer is that he was extremely young - the chances of him acquiring cancer were something like six per million per year."

He was convinced that his time in the Gulf was where the cancer had come from
Elaine Dyson

Professor Busby said he had found particles of depleted uranium with dangerously high radiation levels near the wrecks of tanks during a visit to the Gulf in 2000.

He added: "My feeling about Mr Dyson's colon cancer is that it was produced because he ingested some radioactive material and it became trapped in his intestine."

Mr Dyson's widow Elaine told the Smethwick inquest her husband had suffered from a variety of complaints after leaving the military.

MoD submission

She said he had once been very fit, boxing and playing rugby for the Army, but had suffered sleep problems, night sweats, creaking bones, and cold sores as his health deteriorated.

She said: "He was convinced that his time in the Gulf was where the cancer had come from.

Mrs Dyson said there was no history of colon cancer in her husband's family.

Black Country coroner Robin Balmain said he had received a submission from a scientific adviser to the Ministry of Defence, who had concluded Mr Dyson's cancer arose naturally and there was no evidence to associate it with his exposure to depleted uranium.

He said it was "disappointing" the MoD was not represented at the hearing.

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