Family sue over woman's CJD death

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The Independent Online
A woman yesterday launched a legal action against the Government over the death of her mother from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Fonnie Van Es, 44, who was born in the Netherlands, died in 1994 from the human equivalent of "mad-cow disease" after a three-month illness. Her daughter, Ilja Andrews, 23, is seeking legal aid for the first such case brought by the families of CJD victims.

Relatives of other victims joined Ms Andrews and her brothers Tjark, 21, and Tjobbe, 14, in their home town of Banbury, Oxfordshire, yesterday for a CJD Families Support Group meeting. Ms Andrews said: "The meeting is to get all the families together and see if we can achieve something. If anybody has a heart to listen, then we might have some success, if everybody is ignorant, we don't.

"My mum was a fit and healthy normal woman but she began to get depressed which was totally out of character for her, and that's when we realised something was wrong.

"Towards the end my brothers and I were feeding her, dressing her, bathing her and putting her to bed. We had to do everything for her.

"Mum never had hormone treatment and she gave blood while we were living in Holland. The connection with beef is the only solution that can account for her death."

Her solicitor, David Harris, said that if it could be proved that Mrs Van Es ate beef after the Government had pronounced it safe, the family may have a "very valid case".