Afghanistan blast scientist Lee Peters receives MoD payout

Lee Peters Image copyright Slater and Gordon
Image caption Lee Peters said he was told the device had had the potential "to have blown my head clean off"

A scientist who lost three fingers when a suspicious package exploded as he handled it has been compensated by the Ministry of Defence.

Lee Peters, 51, had been examining the item, which was deemed low risk by military experts but was actually a booby trap containing explosives.

The blast happened in 2011 while he was working for the MoD in its laboratory in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Mr Peters has been awarded a six-figure sum.

'So much blood'

The scientist, who also suffered permanent damage to his eyesight, 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.

"It was like someone had put a cloth sack over my head in the dead of night - that's how impaired my vision was," he said.

The weapon, thought to be a replica of a Russian landmine detonator, ripped away his index, third and ring finger down to the knuckle.

Mr Peters, from Wrangle in Lincolnshire, said he had suffered post-traumatic stress disorder - but was lucky to be alive.

He said he was told if the the device had gone off as quickly as it was designed to, "it would have blown my head clean off".

His lawyer Tracey Benson said the MoD had demonstrated "shocking negligence".

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."

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."

No further details have been given about the size of the compensation payout.

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