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Gulf War Crippled Me And I Didn't Even Go

Grace Macaskill / UK Sunday Mail | October 9 2006

A SCOT has become the first soldier to be diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome - despite never setting foot in Iraq.

Alex Izett, 36, fought a 10-year battle to force theMoD to admit he has the crippling condition.

His suffering began after he was given nine anti-biological warfare injections in 24 hours in preparation for combat - but was then never sent.

His victory means he should get a full war pension, worth £6400-a-year.

Alex said: "This has never been about financial gain - it's about getting the MoD to admit it ruined lives."

The former lance corporal, of Cumbernauld, tried to commit suicide twice after developing osteoporosis, paralysis and kidney problems due to the jabs.

He walks with a stick, his jaw is crumbling, with teeth falling out, and his bones are so weak he has broken his knee cap, shoulder and ribs. But the MoD refused to accept his condition was linked to the injections and awarded him just 70 per cent of a war pension.

If he died, wife Gina, 39, would get nothing. Alex, who lives in Bersenbruck, Germany, appealed and the War Pensions Appeal Tribunal ruled he had GWS last week.

It is the first time a non-deployed soldier has been officially recognised as having the syndrome.

The Veterans Agency will now decide whether he should be awarded the full £124-a-week pension. The MoD must also pay his dental bills.

Alex was told he was going to Iraq in January 1991 and had jabs to protect against chemical weapons. Hesaid: "I asked what they were and was told: 'All you need to know is they protect you.'

"I never thought the Army would inject us with anything dangerous."

Alex quit in May 1991 when Gina fell pregnant with their daughter Sabrina, now 16. He found a new job with Coca- Cola but was soon suffering from fatigue, stomach ulcers and paralysis and was diagnosed with osteoporosis.

Alex - who also has a stepson, Christopher, 20 - realised he had Gulf War Syndrome and applied for a war pension but was refused a full one.

By 2001, he was severely depressed and tried to take his own life by taking 160 prescribed anti-depressants. He tried again a year later.

Alex said: "I was in massive pain and thought I'd never get them to admit the truth. I saw no other way out."

When the Government refused an independent inquiry into Gulf War Syndrome inMay 2004, Alex went on a six-week hunger strike.

He lost three stone before Labour peer Lord Morris of Manchester phoned to reveal a probe was planned.

Alex said: "I'd had enough of the lies. I was not afraid to die."

He finally won his appeal last week and his victory could open the floodgates for dozens of other soldiers.

The National Gulf Veterans and Families Association's general manager, Maria Rusling, said: "Alex having this illness without being in Iraq proves anti-biological warfare injections are to blame."

The MoD said: "We make awards wherever evidence of disablement is shown."

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