Daughters In Battle For Justice After Former Carpenter Killed By Asbestos Exposure

Expert Lawyers Appealing For His Ex-Workmates To Come Forward With Information

22.01.2013

The daughters of a joiner and carpenter who died from asbestos-related illnesses discovered after he “broke down in pain” in hospital are appealing for his former colleagues to come forward to help specialist industrial disease lawyers investigate why he was allowed to come into contact with the deadly dust.

Frederick Hancox, from Dunston, Gateshead, died on 8 April 2012 after being diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to his bones. Following his death aged 72, staff at the Marie Curie Hospice in Newcastle told his devastated family that he had asbestosis, lung cancer and bone cancer. 

Paula Malpass and Tracey Lambton say that their father came into contact with asbestos when he worked for a number of companies in the North East in the 1960s, and have instructed industrial illness experts from Irwin Mitchell to investigate the working conditions he faced during his career.

Frederick was first thought to have been exposed to asbestos while working as a joiner for Calders in Washington from 1962/63 to 1963/64, where he would regularly cut asbestos sheets into panels so they could be used to insulate new homes. He then moved on to do the same task for Swan Hunter at Wallsend shipyard in 1965/66.

The father-of-two and grandfather-of-four is thought to have suffered exposure to asbestos dust again while working for Derek Crouch Construction Co Ltd in 1965/66 and 1968/69 to 1969/70, where he installed asbestos tiles and boards in the ceilings of school buildings.

Frederick began to suffer from breathlessness and chest pains in July 2011, and his condition rapidly deteriorated.  Following investigations, the results revealed a tumour on Frederick’s lung and he was diagnosed with asbestos-related lung cancer at the end of February 2012. He passed away just two months later.

Tracey, from Chester-le-Street, County Durham, said: “My dad was in a great deal of pain towards the end of his life and it’s shocking to think that being exposed to asbestos in the 1960s ultimately led to him suffering so much, particularly when he was such a hard worker who just wanted to provide for me and Paula.

“He had always been a healthy and independent man and it was heartbreaking to see him deteriorate so quickly.”

Paula added: “Seeing our dad break down in pain and learning that the cancer had already spread to his bones - and was terminal - was distressing for everyone involved.

“I hope his ex-workmates help us investigate why my dad was not better protected from the harmful effects of asbestos so that we can get him the justice he deserves.”

Isobel Lovett, an industrial disease specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Asbestos dust is an incredibly dangerous substance and in many cases it causes huge damage to peoples’ health decades after they were initially exposed.

“Frederick worked with asbestos a number of times during his career and was never provided with breathing equipment or warned how dangerous it could be.

“We are keen to speak to any of his former colleagues or anybody who has information on the working conditions at the firms at the time of Frederick’s employment. It is important for us to confirm when and how Frederick was exposed to the asbestos and to help Tracey and Paula to achieve justice for their father.”

If you have any information on the companies mentioned please call Isobel Lovett on 0191 279 0104 or email Isobel.Lovett@irwinmitchell.com

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure, our expert asbestos lung cancer lawyers could help you claim compensation. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.