A FORMER haemophiliac who told an inquiry how his liver was irreparably damaged by a contaminated blood transfusion says all he wants is an apology.

David Fielding, from Farnworth, was diagnosed with haemophilia as an infant and was one of thousands to have received infected blood in the 1970s and 1980s.

He gave evidence at an independent public inquiry being held in London and, afterwards, he said: "Everyone had a moving story to tell. I empathised with each of them. The small room was packed with up to 70 people. As I gave my account, people were crying behind me.

"We've fought hard to get this story told but the one thing I'm still waiting for is an apology. I hope somebody has the guts to say sorry."

Haemophilia is usually inherited and occurs when the blood cannot clot properly because it has low levels of clotting factors eight or nine, causing bruising and internal bleeding.

In the 1970s, a method of replacing the missing factor was discovered. Plasma products were pooled from UK and US sources. But some came from paid, American "Skid Row" donors who were more likely to be infected with HIV and Hepatitis C.

In 1998, Mr Fielding was told he had contracted Hepatitis C, after taking contaminated clotting agent Factor 8, and would be dead in six months if he did not have a liver transplant. He was among almost 2,000 haemophiliacs exposed to fatal viruses in contaminated blood.

His brother, Brian, also a haemophiliac, contracted AIDS by the same process and died in 1990. More than 1,500 others died or are said to be terminally ill as a result of "the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS".

Mr Fielding, a married father-of-three, was cured of his liver disease and haemophilia by his transplant.

Successive UK governments have previously refused an inquiry into the events.

One of the "most shocking" documents in this inquiry was a letter from the head of Britain's public health surveillance centre warning the Department of Health about the risk of Aids from Factor 8. Despite this Factor 8 imports continued to be used.

Lord Archer has said: "Our purpose is to unravel the facts, so far as we are able, and to point to lessons that may be learnt."

The hearing was adjourned to a date in May, yet to be set.