The father of identical twin boys infected with HIV and hepatitis C from contaminated blood has told of his horror at discovering one of his sons had his brain removed for testing after his death, without the family’s knowledge or permission.

Condemning the “shameful history of this heartbreaking nightmare”, the boys’ father gave evidence to the Infected Blood Inquiry about how his twins were given the illnesses as young children, which led to the death of one.

Both boys had been diagnosed with a severe form of the blood condition haemophilia at just 11 months old, which required regular transfusions.

Both were treated at Yorkhill Children’s Hospital in Glasgow, where contaminated blood products imported from the US were used.

In 1985, when the boys were 10, they were diagnosed with HIV, followed by hepatitis C. Mr AB said the family had not been told of any risk and did not even know they were being tested for the diseases.

READ MORE: Inquiry hears of NHS worker 'betrayal'

The father, who described his sons as “mischievous” boys who loved playing pranks and football, said they had subsequently been“treated like lab rats” and given different medication without explanation.

One of the boys later developed Aids and died in 1992, aged 17.

In the hours before his son’s death, Mr AB revealed that two doctors had questioned him about funeral plans and possibly carrying out post-

mortem tests – described to him as taking fluid from his brain and spine.

He said: “While my son was still alive in bed and unconscious through HIV and hep C, they asked me if I would give them permission to carry out a post-mortem and I said no.

“I said that I do not want it, he’s suffered enough.”

However, during a chance encounter with one of the doctors six months after his son died, he was told that his son had had his scalp and skull opened and his brain removed to discover the cause of death.

It emerged that measles had infected the boy’s brain, and his father said he was told by the doctor: “If only we had known that, we could have done more.”

Mr AB, who was giving evidence on the final day of the inquiry’s Scottish stage in Edinburgh, said he kept the news of the post-mortem to himself for 12 months because he did not know what to do with the information and the loss of his son was “utterly devastating”.

READ MORE: What will happen at the infected blood inquiry?

He said he later discovered claims that certain details of the post-mortem had been destroyed on purpose, while the remaining medical information about his son’s treatment were “inaccurate records”.

The family also kept a record of all the treatment they gave their sons at home. However, Mr AB said that, after the book was taken by the hospital “to photocopy”, it was never returned.

Although he praised the “great care” from the NHS, he accused some of the doctors involved of “closing ranks” over the infected blood scandal, which is believed to have claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people since the 1970s.

The inquiry, chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff, will resume in Cardiff on July 23.

A previous Scottish public inquiry into the disaster, the Penrose Inquiry, was branded a “whitewash” by victims after it concluded that little more could have been done by the Scottish authorities to prevent infections. Its sole recommendation was that patients in Scotland who had a transfusion before 1991 should be tested for hepatitis C.

The new inquiry follows decades of campaigning for a UK-wide probe into what went wrong and, crucially, whether there was a cover-up.

READ MORE: Medical records were destroyed, blood inquiry told

The scandal unfolded in an era before donated blood was screened. Among the paid donors giving blood used to create the US blood products, imported by the NHS, were high-risk groups such as prison inmates and injecting drug users.

The crisis was then exacerbated because the processes used to make the Factor VIII clotting treatment given to haemophiliacs and other patients – where human blood plasma from thousands of donors was pooled and concentrated – increased the risk of its contamination with viruses.

As the inquiry concluded its Edinburgh hearings, Sir Brian praised the witnesses.

He said: "In each case, those who have given evidence have shown impressive dignity, impressive courage and impressing resilience."

He added: "Every single story plays a part, even if it's a part that reinforces that which has already been said.

"One pebble does not make a beach; a lot of pebbles do."

The final witness was a widow whose husband, who had haemophilia, was infected with HIV and hepatitis C.

She explained how her husband asked why doctors failed to tell him he had tested positive for the virus, which would develop into Aids, and was told "doctors don't like telling you that unless you ask yourself".

"That was the answer he got," she said.

The woman, speaking anonymously, told of how her son - then 24 - had to put his dad's body in a body bag to be taken away because the undertaker was unable to deal with someone who had Aids.

She added: "I would like to know why my husband and others died far too early. He never got to spend more time with myself or our son.

"Is that the last memory our son will have of his dad? He helped put him in a body bag and see him taken away - no son should ever see that."