Leicester City Council has agreed to pay substantial compensation to the widow of a former employee who died as a result of his exposure to asbestos while working for the Council.

Janice Norton, 69 of Braunston Town, Leicester, lost her husband Roger to the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in October 2006. They had been together for over 50 years. She took the case against his former employer with the assistance of the Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team and asbestos claim specialists Thompsons Solicitors.

Roger Norton was exposed to asbestos while employed by Leicester City Council as a painter and decorator between 1968 and 1980. His job involved painting council properties. He was exposed to asbestos dust when using a wire brush to prepare the surfaces of asbestos gutterings, downpipes, eaves and soffits prior to painting.

X-ray found tumour on lung

In June 2006 he started experiencing breathlessness and pain in his left side and back and was referred to hospital to have fluid drained from his lung. It was there that an x-ray confirmed he had a tumour on his lung.

Mrs Norton says her husband’s illness and sudden death came as a shock. “Roger had never been ill in his entire life, he was a model of good health. Then one day he started having a breathing problem and within four months he was dead. It sent me into shock.”

Thompsons Solicitors, acting for Mrs Norton, argued that the risks of contracting mesothelioma from the level of exposure to asbestos that Mr Norton encountered in his job were well known at the time and that Leicester City Council should have warned him about the dangers of asbestos and taken steps to prevent him being exposed.

Every death due to Mesothelioma is a tragedy that could have been avoided

The Council admitted liability and agreed to a compensation settlement out of court shortly before the case went to trial.

Dave Fisher from Thompsons Solicitors said: “I’m pleased to have been able to assist Mrs Norton in securing this settlement. The compensation will not make up for the heartache of losing her husband and lifetime partner but it will provide her with much needed financial security. The dangers of asbestos were firmly established at the time Roger Norton was working for the Council. There’s simply no excuse for what happened.”

Joanne Carlin from the Derbyshire Asbestos Support Team added: “Every death due to Mesothelioma is a tragedy that could have been avoided. The successful outcome of the claim means that Mrs Norton has seen some justice done and has been compensated for the financial impact of losing her husband.”

This news story was also published by this is Leicestershire.