Lancing father launches book after son's death

Peter Buckland

Peter Buckland

First published in News
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A father whose son died from the human form of mad cow disease has published a book criticising the government handling of the crisis.

Peter Buckland said writing and researching the book had been cathartic and he hoped it would help others.

Mark Buckland, from Brighton, died from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in 2006 aged 32.

An inquest found he caught it from a blood transfusion in 1997.

Animals can get mad cow disease, which attacks the brain but can be dormant for years, if they eat feed contaminated with matter from infected cattle.

Mr Buckland, 70, of Lancing, said the decision by Margaret Thatcher’s government to let the “market decide” beef prices had led to abattoirs being forced to cut costs.

The book, called The Witches Within Westminster, criticises how the emergence of the disease and the available scientific advice was managed.

Mr Buckland said: “After Mark died I was just so angry at what had happened and I felt the only way of helping me to cope was to write a book.

“It took me seven years to do and it was very hard emotionally.

“However I wanted to record the demise of my son and why it happened.”

Mr Buckland, who lives with wife Eve, 67, said Mark’s death hit them hard.

He said: “It was like living with someone who has Alzheimer's. There could be a day where we did a lot of things and Mark would say how much he enjoyed it.

“Then we would go home and five minutes later he would be asking what we did that day as he couldn’t remember.

“It was a tremendously difficult time. My son was a young man with his whole life in front of him and it was taken away.”

vCJD progressively attacks the brain but can remain dormant for decades. It is feared that one in 2,000 people in the UK is a carrier of vCJD, linked to eating contaminated beef.

A total of 177 UK deaths have been attributed to vCJD since it was identified in 1995.

The book, published by Austin Macauley, went on sale yesterday.

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