Jan 6 2005
A FATHER has spoken of his heartbreak
at his son's devastating decline and 'horrendous' death
from the killer brain disease CJD.
Two years ago the Roberts family of
Carmarthen lost 18-year-old Richard to the 'human mad
cow disease' which has been linked to the consumption
of unfit meat.
Terry Roberts, Richard's father, is
now convinced that Richard died as a result of eating
unfit meat as a young child.
He has spoken about the shocking disease
that saw his son's health deteriorate at a frightening
Richard was a sporty teenager whose
sudden lapses of memory and co-ordination shocked Mr
Roberts and his wife Julie.
The first sign that something was wrong
came when Mr Roberts went to the shop where Richard
worked and found he could not remember more than a couple
of items he had asked for.
"Later on we found that this loss
of memory had been going on for sometime, as his girlfriend
had been writing notes for him to remind him what to
do," said Mr Roberts.
"He couldn't walk in a straight
line and it was then that we took him to doctors. He
had numerous blood tests but nothing showed up."
Further tests done privately in Cardiff
did suggest that he was suffering from CJD, but the
family had to contact the national base in Edinburgh
to confirm early in 2002.
"I knew then that we had trouble,"
said Mr Roberts.
"They told us when he was diagnosed
around May that he may live until November, but his
condition deteriorated so badly that
it was quite obvious that he was not going to last that
"It was a horrendous death and
we were all with him when he passed away."
Mr Roberts remembers him as being much
the same as any other teenage lad.
"Every father says that he has
got a lovely son but he was a very nice lad. He'd do
anything for anybody, help anybody out," he said.
"He played a bit of rugby for
the school and for Carmarthen Quins under-16s, so he
was quite fit. I used to go and watch him play rugby
and we generally enjoyed each other's company."
But the former police officer believes
that unfit meat somehow found the way on to his son's
"It is quite obvious that variant
CJD doesn't happen on its own," he said.
"Research indicates that the way
that you catch it is by eating infected meat and I think
that's what happened in this case."
He condemns the men and women in the
illegal meat trade, as part of an investigation by ITV
Wales to be broadcast tonight.
Wales This Week looks at a practice
which is potentially putting lives at risk while making
bandit farmers rich.
Dr Yunes Teinaz, who works in the frontline
in the war against illegal meat, has criticised Welsh
local authorities for not doing enough to stem exports
of meat unfit for human consumption from rural Wales
to urban areas like London and Cardiff.
A pillar of the Muslim community in
London, Dr Teinaz is particular concerned with illegal
meat called Smokies.
These are old sheep carcasses blow
torched to give them a barbecue flavour and are a popular
delicacy in African communities.
Last year, as a result of tip-offs,
Dr Teinaz intercepted two van loads of Smokies on route
from Wales to London.
A Welsh farmer was caught driving and
pleaded guilty in a London court to possessing meat
which was unfit for human consumption.
"If the Government does not take
action, then I don't want to be alarmist, but another
outbreak of disease will happen," said Dr Teinaz.
• Wales This Week is broadcast
tonight at 11pm on ITV1 Wales.
THE black market in sheep and cattle
has become so bad that the Welsh Assembly Government
has funded a new intelligence unit to fight it.
Housed in Ceredigion County Council
offices in Aberaeron, the Food Fraud Co-Ordination Unit
will build a database on the trade.
That information will be shared among
Wales's 22 local authorities and law enforcement agencies,
and their counterparts across the border in England.
The unit's two staff started operations
last summer, but it will be officially launched at the
end of this month.
It was organised by the Food Standards
Agency for Wales and is funded by the agriculture and
It is hoped that the unit will help
prevent problems caused by unfit meat entering the food
[ Article Courtesy of ICWales