Legal battle begins to compensate widow of youngest mesothelioma sufferer

Asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma


Irwin Mitchell solicitors, representing the family of the late Barry Welch, the youngest known person to have died of the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma, have formally launched a court action for compensation on behalf of his widow.

Court proceedings were issued this week at the High Court in London against the defendants, Palmers Limited, based in Eastleigh near Southampton, former employers of Barry Welchs stepfather, Roger Bugby. It is thought Mr Welch, formally of Braunstone in Leicester, contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos dust and fibres brought home on work overalls by his stepfather Roger.


Exposure to asbestos dust

Mr Bugby, who worked as a scaffolder at Kingsnorth Power Station, Kent between 1977 and 1979, would return from work covered in asbestos dust on his overalls, his skin and in his hair. Before changing out of his overalls he would relax and young Barry would often sit on his lap. It is believed that this exposure to asbestos dust as a child led to Barry contracting mesothelioma in later life.

Barry Welch passed away on 27th April 2005 after an 11-month battle against the illness. He leaves behind a wife, Claire, and three daughters aged 12, 11 and 6.


Mesothelioma compensation claims

A number of previous mesothelioma cases have involved the wives of workers who have been exposed to asbestos whilst laundering their husbands asbestos contaminated work clothes.

However, the case of Barry Welch is believed to be the first of its kind. The family's solicitor, Adrian Budgen, a partner with national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, said: We are very disappointed that we have had to issue formal legal proceedings against Palmers Limited. Sadly, as the defendants have not been prepared to either admit liability or enter into negotiations with us, this was the only course of action we were able to take in order to gain compensation for Barrys widow and her three daughters. Our thoughts are very much with Claire and her daughters at this very sad and difficult time.

The trial, or final hearing, which will be listed to be heard by Master Whitaker at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, is expected to take place in the next six to seven months.

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