Devastated Electrician Launches Legal Battle For Asbestos Justice

Lawyers Appeal To Terminal Cancer Sufferer’s Former Colleagues For Information About The Deadly Dust

19.12.2013

A former electrician has launched a legal battle for justice and is appealing to his former colleagues to get in touch with information after he was given the tragic news that he was suffering with mesothelioma – an asbestos-related terminal cancer.

Denis Speight, 80, of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, originally went to the doctors after experiencing pain around his right side following a game of bowls but after being referred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital he was diagnosed with the deadly disease on 14 October this year.

Denis, who lives with his wife Sylvia, has now instructed specialist asbestos lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his working conditions. The law firm is calling for any of his former colleagues to get in touch with information about the presence of asbestos at Falconar, Cross & Co, a company of electrical contractors Denis worked for between 1948 and 1968.

The Gateshead man left Falconar, Cross & Co in 1954 to do his National Service only to return to the electrical contractors in 1956.

The former electrician recalls two particular jobs where he was exposed to asbestos: at Kirkley Hall in Ponteland where Denis remembers working alongside laggers in a boiler house while they mixed asbestos and applied it by hand to the surrounding pipes.

Denis also recalls being exposed to asbestos at Hexham Police Station in around 1956, again working alongside contractors who were lagging pipe work for a number of weeks.

Isobel Lovett, an associate solicitor and expert asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office representing him, said: “This terrible news has come as a real shock to Denis and his family as he had always enjoyed good health.

“We would like former colleagues who worked at Falconar, Cross & Co to get in touch with us as any information that could help us with Denis’ case will allow us to conclude the matter as quickly as we possibly can so that he and his family can focus on their lives.

“Denis may have been working with asbestos for a number of years without being given any appropriate protection or warnings which is totally unacceptable.

“Mesothelioma is an industrial illness for which there is sadly no cure. Employers have been aware of the risks of exposing their staff to asbestos since the 1950s so there is no excuse for workers like Denis to have not been provided with the adequate protection.”

The decline in Denis’ health has caught his whole family by surprise as he is normally a very active man. He previously went for walks, had a love for bowls and was always in a good state of health.

Now, Denis has lost weight and is worried about how his illness will progress. He said: “I remember having a terrible game of bowls in September and when I bent down all my right hand side hurt. I thought it was just muscular pain.

“When I was referred to the hospital I did not expect to be diagnosed with a terminal cancer. It has come as a total shock for me, my wife and our son, who lives with us. I have lost a substantial amount of weight and my energy levels are certainly not what they were before my diagnosis.

“I hope my former colleagues are out there and can come forward to help with the investigation and bring justice for my family.”

Anyone who thinks they can help is asked to contact either Isobel Lovett or Emma Tordoff at Irwin Mitchell on 0191 279 0104 or email isobel.lovett@irwinmitchell.com.