A British scientist who lost three of his fingers – and was left with permanent damage to his eyesight – after a booby trapped package exploded in his laboratory has won a six figure payout from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Lee Peters, 51, was working for the MoD when a ‘suspicious item’ declared safe by military experts exploded as he carried out forensic testing on it in his lab in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2011.
Describing how he feared he would bleed to death after the blast he said “if that device had gone off as quickly as it was designed to, it would have blown my head clean off.”
The MoD has said it cannot comment on individual cases.
Mr Peters’ index, third and ring finger down to the knuckle were ripped off his hand as the ‘package’ which turned out to be a chemical weapon blew up as he handled it.
The father-of-two, who has since retired on medical grounds, said at the time he feared he would bleed to death in the wake of the explosion as he cried out for help.
He said: “As soon as I heard the bang that day, I was under no illusion as to what I was facing.
“It was like being in a movie – everything went in slow motion. I knew my fingers were blown clean off but I could barely see.
“I thought if I fainted in there, I would die because there was so much blood.”
Surgeons worked for 13 hours in an attempt to save his hand but Mr Peters ended up losing three digits.
Mr Peter’s lawyers Slater and Gordon confirmed that the former forensic scientist had won a negligence case he brought against the MoD and was awarded a substantial payout
Tracey Benson who represented Lee, said it was “shocking case”.
She said: “My client should never have come into contact with this item and we hope that this case will make sure a similar, avoidable incident won’t blight any other professional’s life.
“Not only did it strip Lee of his career that had spanned over 20 years but his wife had to leave her job too. He’s suffered with PTSD from the incident and had to come to terms with facing the rest of his life with a disabled limb.”.
An MoD spokesman said: “We cannot comment on individual cases, but all claims are carefully considered and where the Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay compensation we do so.”