A HAEMOPHILIAC infected with HIV has given a cautious welcome to the decision to hold an inquiry in the ‘tainted blood’ scandal that left at least 2,400 people dead in the 1970s and 1980s.

John Smith (not his real name) of Blackburn was one of 4,670 people infected with Hepatitis C and one of 1,243 in that group also infected with HIV, when given contaminated blood.

The 62-year-old suffers from haemophilia, a rare inherited disorder, which means blood does not clot properly, leading to recurrent bleeding.

The inquiry, announced by Prime Minister Theresa May, will establish the causes of the ‘appalling injustice’ he and others suffered.

Mr Smith said: “I’m happy in one sense but disappointed in another, in that this has taken 30-odd years.

“I’m a bit dubious about inquiries and I do not want it to become another farce.

“It’s early days yet but it must be a step in the right direction. A lot of people think this was sorted out years ago.”

Mr Smith referred to the Penrose inquiry, which reported on the same issue in Scotland in 2015. Having cost at least £11.3million and taken six years to complete, victims were angered after it made only one recommendation and was reluctant to apportion blame.

In 2010 Mr Smith condemned the Government’s decision not to give victims more compensation.

He reluctantly accepted an offer of £60,000 because he needed to support his family.

He said then: “I was offered the chance to take this ‘superb new treatment’, that was far more convenient than going to hospital because it could be administered at home. But nobody told us about the side effects.

“It decimated an entire generation of haemophiliacs. It was genocide.”

In 1987 Mr Smith was given a life expectancy of just five years.

He said: “I was very angry, and as a dad of two young children, frightened for their future.”

A spokesman for Mrs May said: “A full inquiry to establish the truth of what happened is the right course. It will be a wide-ranging inquiry.”