The family of a former electrician who only learnt of his asbestos-linked cancer diagnosis after he passed away has secured justice in his memory after his former employer admitted more could have been done to protect him from asbestos exposure. 

Albert Edward Batty was an active 86-year-old when his health suddenly started to deteriorate in May 2020, leaving him struggling to live independently and in need of round-the-clock hospital care. 

Mr Batty’s doctors initially attributed his symptoms to heart disease before further investigations suggested that he may have been suffering from lung cancer.  

However, it was not until after he passed away in April 2021 that Mr Batty’s family were informed that he had, in fact, been suffering from mesothelioma—an aggressive cancer linked to occupational asbestos exposure. 

Shocked by the diagnosis and desperate for answers, Albert’s son, Kevin Batty, instructed industrial disease experts at Thompsons Solicitors to determine when and where he may have come into contact with asbestos. 

As part of the investigation into his work history, the family’s legal team found that Mr Batty started his career as an apprentice with Watson Norrie, a nationally operating electrical wiring installation company, in 1948 , when he was just 15 years old.  

During this time, he mainly worked on contracts at North Tees “C” Power Station and at Air Ministry Works Services (Northern Area), where he installed and maintained boilers, turbine auxiliaries, sockets, and kitchens before leaving the company to join the Navy as a qualified Journeyman Electrician in 1955. 

He eventually retired as a highly qualified electrician in 2000. 

Thompsons Solicitors, which has represented hundreds of clients suffering from mesothelioma across the North East, used this information to draw on their extensive Witness Statement Archive, tracing former clients who had successfully pursued similar claims following negligent exposure to asbestos under similar circumstances.  

Whilst many of the original witnesses have now passed away, with permission from their families, these statements provided crucial evidence linking Albert Batty's asbestos exposure to his time at North Tees “C” Power Station, ultimately leading to an admission of liability from Watson Norrie Ltd. 

Thompsons Solicitors also secured a £80,000 compensation settlement for the family, reflecting the pain and suffering endured by Mr Batty towards the end of his life and the care required as a result of his symptoms. 

Commenting on the case and the family’s relief at securing answers regarding his father’s illness, Kevin Batty, 66, who is based in Heddon-on-the-Wall, Newcastle upon Tyne, said it had been ‘extremely distressing’ to watch his father’s health deteriorate. 

He said: “Dad was always very fit and active. I run a golfing travel service called, and he would regularly go abroad with me and take part in rounds.  To see him go from being so independent to being so very unwell in such a short space of time was heartbreaking. 

“For a period, we thought he had lung cancer, so to then learn after he had passed away that he had been suffering from mesothelioma was a real shock. We wanted to determine precisely how he had come to be exposed to asbestos and to hold his former employer accountable. 

“We are incredibly grateful for the support from Stuart and the wider team at Thompsons Solicitors. Thanks to their efforts, we were able to understand better the circumstances surrounding my father's illness and secure a measure of justice. This settlement honours his memory and raises awareness about the risks of asbestos exposure. 

“I hope that by speaking out I can let others who may find themselves in a similar situation to us know that there is help out there.” 

Stuart Latham, Senior Asbestos Solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors who represented the family, said: “We are pleased to have secured such a positive outcome for Mr Batty’s family. It’s never easy to hear that a loved one’s illness could have been prevented, and sadly, many families across the Northeast are still being impacted as a result of negligent asbestos exposure. 

“We hope that this case serves to highlight that there is help out there for anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation to Mr Batty’s family and that we can still secure some level of justice even many decades after the exposure occurs.”