'The venom was coming into my eyes' - Kiwi war veteran takes bid for compensation to high court after snake bite 50 years ago

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A war veteran who was bitten by a snake more than 50 years ago in Malaysia is heading to court in a bid for compensation from the government. 

Patrick Edwards is asking for his pension to be backdated to when his eyesight started failing.
Source: 1 NEWS

Patrick Edwards is asking for his pension to be backdated to when his eyesight started failing.

He served in the jungles of Malaysia 50 years ago, during the Malaysian emergency, and said he was attacked by a snake while out on patrol, a moment that changed his life forever.

"I look down, and there it was, a bloody snake, with its mouth wide and tongue in and out, the venom was coming into my eyes," said Mr Edwards.

In 1965, he was a civilian and business owner and began to notice his eyesight failing.

"Really devastating, I literally saw the progress of my father losing his sight," said his daughter, Aneta Edwards.  

Mr Edwards first applied for a war pension in 1966 on the basis he was going blind as a result of the snake venom, but 40 years of rejection followed.

"It's been a hell of a fight," he said.

In 2006 Mr Edwards had a partial win when it was accepted that his blindness was aggravated by military service.

He was awarded a pension backdated to 2004, but he said that date is far too random, so Mr Edwards is asking the High Court to backdate his pension to when his eyesight began to fail in the 1960's.

Veterans Affairs won't comment as the case is before the courts.

"This is a battle about justice," said Ms Edwards.

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