The widow of a retired police officer has received a substantial sum in compensation for her husband’s death from asbestos related disease.

Terry Sullivan was diagnosed with cancer of the lining of the lungs, mesothelioma, in April 2008 after complaining of a burning sensation in his shoulder.

He was told he had just three months to live but died almost a year later in February 2009 aged 67.

Terry was exposed to asbestos between 1964 and 1970 while working for G A Harvey & Company (London) Limited an engineering company based on the south bank of the River Thames which employed thousands of workers.

Working as a fitter's mate brought him into contact with asbestos

Terry’s job as a fitter’s mate brought him into contact with asbestos while undertaking different tasks including changing brakes on the cranes.

He met his wife, Brenda in 1964. They married in 1969 and had two daughters and three grandchildren.

He left G A Harvey in 1970 and to become a police officer based at Kennington and Catford stations until he retired in 2001.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following his diagnosis he contacted asbestos claims specialists Thompsons Solicitors to obtain advice about compensation. Thompsons brought a claim against Steelcase PLC, which they alleged was responsible for the liabilities of G A Harvey (London) Limited after the company went into receivership.

Steelcase PLC denied Terry was ever employed by any company for which they were responsible. A protracted legal dispute followed which centred on the complex structure of the G A Harvey Group of companies. Thompsons pursued the claim through the courts but sadly Terry died before judgment was obtained.

His wife Brenda said: “Terry felt strongly about claiming compensation because he wanted to make sure that I was ok. Now I don’t have to worry about the bills but I would throw it all away if I thought it would bring him back. We were coming up to our 40th wedding anniversary but we never quite made it.”

Andrew Venn from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Steelcase PLC strenuously resisted the claim from beginning to end meaning Mr Sullivan never saw this compensation during his lifetime. The company disputed which one of a large number of subsidiaries Mr Sullivan worked for. Many of the companies in the group were defunct and uninsured. It took a great deal of investigation and persistence to bring the claim to a successful conclusion.