Lawyer Thanks Public After Securing Justice for Tyneside Widow

Widow Of Asbestos Victim Gives Thanks To Lawyer

08.10.2010

A leading North East lawyer has won a significant legal battle for a Hebburn widow fighting for justice following her husband’s death almost two years ago.

Roger Maddocks, partner and industrial illness specialist at Irwin Mitchell, has secured a substantial legal settlement for June Bickle, whose husband Allan died on January 30th 2009 after battling the deadly asbestos-related disease Mesothelioma.

And he has thanked Evening Chronicle readers who provided crucial information following a witness appeal in early 2009.

Mrs Bickle believed was determined to prove that her husband’s disease was caused by exposure to asbestos while working at Filtrona United Kingdom Ltd as a grinder/turner, manufacturing machinery for the production of cigarette filters around 25 years ago.

In January 2010, Filtrona United Kingdom Ltd denied responsibility for exposing Mr Bickle to asbestos but abandoned its defence just minutes before a High Court hearing.

An interim settlement figure was paid  at the time, and a settlement hearing was due to take place at the High Court in London on October 7th to determine the final amount of compensation to be paid by the defendants – however an out-of-court settlement was agreed just days before.

Mr Maddocks said the settlement would never replace what Mrs Bickle has lost, but said he hoped she could take some comfort from the legal victory.

He once again thanks Evening Chronicle readers who responded to a public witness appeal in February 2009.

He said: “Mrs Bickle felt very strongly about securing justice in the memory of her husband – he was previously a fit, healthy man who was struck down by Mesothelioma at a point when he should have been looking forward to a long and happy retirement with his wife.

“We have been able to negotiate a settlement for Mrs Bickle but this case has never been about the money for her. She simply wanted to prove that her husband was taken from her because of he was negligently exposed to asbestos while at work.

“I strongly hope that this will provide Mrs Bickle with some much-needed closure and that the settlement will give her a crumb of comfort as she continues to grieve for her husband.

“Mesothelioma is a particularly vicious disease which usually hits decades after the exposure to asbestos took place. For this reason it is particularly devastating for its victims and their loved ones.

“The witnesses who came forward following the Chronicle article were a great help to the case and we are grateful to them all. It is heart warming to see that people in the North East will rally round to help achieve justice for a woman whose husband was taken from her so early.”

The information provided by Mr Bickle's former colleagues enabled Mr Maddocks to conduct investigations into the asbestos-containing product, Sindanyo, with which Mr Bickle worked for over 20 years.
 
“An asbestos-free version of Sindanyo was launched in the late 1990s but it was too late for Allan who had worked with the original product in a high-speed process which released clouds of the killer dust into the air around him. The Sindanyo Allan worked with contained mainly white asbestos which is considered less harmful that its blue and brown counterparts but it just goes to show that no asbestos is safe,” Mr Maddocks added.