A FORMER soldier injured in a car bomb blast while serving in Iraq has slammed the “diabolical” housing provided to him in Sheffield after his discharge from the Army.
Michael Walker, aged 21, who was injured in an explosion in Basra and needed surgery to remove a kidney, is expecting a child with partner Kelly Howard, aged 20, who is seven months pregnant.
The couple were put in temporary accommodation on Ironside Close, Gleadless, by housing association Sheffield Homes. But Michael said the flat was “disgusting”, with broken windows and damp, mouldy walls.
“It’s absolutely disgusting - I served my country for four years,” he said.
“The flat was diabolical. It was damp, it was absolutely freezing cold. There was mould in the bedroom growing up the walls, mould in the bathroom, no underlay underneath any of the carpets, and no fridge freezer or washing machine.”
Michael joined the Army at 16 and went on three tours of Iraq serving as a trooper.
“It was what I wanted to do since a very young age.”
He was injured in the car bomb blast in 2007 while on foot patrol, and was flown back to the UK for treatment.
“The medical team took the shrapnel out and I rejoined my unit in England,” he said.
Michael later had to have his right kidney removed after developing an infection, and was discharged from the Army last April. He said: “I was disappointed. It was my dream to be in the Army.”
Michael moved in with Kelly in Sheffield and they are expecting a baby girl.
He said they were first put up in a bed and breakfast before being offered the flat.
A Sheffield Homes spokesman said the couple have now moved to another property.
He added: “Applicants for council housing get priority for rehousing based on need rather than their background or occupation, so the process is fair for everyone.
“We are sorry the couple were unhappy with the property but we have done everything we can to help them.
“The damp was caused by the tenants not ventilating the property properly.”