The family of a dad who died after he was exposed to asbestos as a child in his family home on an RAF base has received a substantial six figure sum in compensation from the Ministry of Defence.

Richard Rouse, from Winchester, was aged just 53 when he died in May 2008 after he was diagnosed with the fatal asbestos related condition, mesothelioma.

Asbestos claim specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, successfully obtained the compensation on behalf of his family.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the lining of the lungs which takes decades for symptoms to occur after inhaling asbestos fibres.

He was exposed to asbestos when he was living with his parents in married quarters at RAF Debden in Essex from 1956 to 1959.

Between the ages of two and five he slept every night next to a radiator which had pipes covered with asbestos and he played hide and seek in a cupboard which contained asbestos insulated pipes.

Richard went onto serve in the Army and reached the rank of Colonel before he left in 2005. Between 1986 and 1995 he served at Army premises in Worthy Down where he was exposed to dust from the repair and maintenance of asbestos based building materials.

Thompsons commenced court proceedings against The Ministry of Defence which denied liability.

Evidence relied upon by Thompsons confirmed the extensive presence of asbestos to which Richard was exposed. Although The Ministry of Defence maintained a denial of liability, the High Court entered judgment on liability in favour of Mr Rouse’s family.

Richard retired after serving in the Army for 33 years with the intention of commencing his own business as an IT Consultant. Unfortunately before doing so he was diagnosed with mesothelioma shortly after leaving the Army.

Before his death Richard felt strongly about claiming compensation. He instructed Thompsons Solicitors and his wife, Sally, continued his claim on his behalf.

Tony Hood from Thompsons Solicitors’ specialist asbestos team dealt with the case. He said: “We pursued this compensation claim because the MOD failed in its duty to protect this child of service personnel from a well recognised carcinogenic risk of asbestos. As a result of this negligence his life was tragically cut short.

“The level of compensation recovered reflects the earning capacity that he would have achieved had it not been for his premature death. Whilst it will provide financial security for his family it can never replace their loss.”

His wife, Sally Rouse added: “Words cannot describe the full extent in which this disease has ripped our family apart. Despite suffering terribly, he was brave and mentally strong until the end.

“It was extremely important to him to claim compensation. He was appalled that his family had been exposed to such a danger in Armed Services accommodation. He was also determined to make sure that our two sons were looked after financially.”