A Bedford widow, who described her husband as her soul mate, received £300,000 compensation after he died, aged 67, in May 2009 from mesothelioma – an incurable cancer caused by asbestos.

Mr S, an electrician, was exposed to asbestos from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s when he worked for three different employers who provided him with no protection against the fatal dust. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in April 2008 and sought advice from asbestos claim specialists Thompsons Solicitors.

Former employers negligently exposed him to asbetsos

In the factory where Mr S worked for Associated Electrical Industries Ltd, in Willesden Lane, London, the boilers and pipes were insulated with asbestos in poor condition. He also worked as a maintenance electrician for Smiths Industries in London. Here too, the boilers and pipes were lagged with asbestos and the furnace shop, where Mr S regularly carried out routine maintenance, was constructed from materials containing asbestos. The whole factory was dusty, hot and dirty.

Mr S also worked as a Service Engineer for Indesit in London and Peterborough where he repaired toasters by replacing broken asbestos sheets and fixed irons by removing damaged asbestos plates. He spent whole days removing asbestos bricks in order to reach heating units on housing estates while warm air from the heaters circulated the asbestos dust.

Mr S’s widow described her husband as very fit and healthy all his life. ‘He did all the work around our home and garden. Friends called him “Mr Fix It” because he was the sort of man who would help anyone if he could. He genuinely enjoyed helping people.’

Diagnosed with mesothelioma

It was only four years after he retired when Mr S developed a fever and had an unbearable pain in his side. Doctors originally thought he had pleurisy, but a year later he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mrs S cared for her husband throughout his illness, helping him to do all the things he once took for granted.

Mrs S said, ‘Our family has been devastated and my whole world has been destroyed by his death. It is so dreadful that those firms let him work in such dangerous conditions, risking his life. That is why I was determined to carry on fighting for his compensation. They have stolen our retirement time away from us. Thankfully I have a very close family and I have my granddaughters to focus on and keep me going’.

Lorna Webster of Thompsons Solicitors said: ‘When I met Mr S he impressed me as a true gentleman. He was very dignified in the face of this terrible illness. The compensation we obtained for Mrs S will provide her with the financial security that he wanted her to have.’