Justice For Devastated Widow Of Former Council Worker Who Died Of Industrial Disease

Asbestos Disease Experts Secure Settlement From Council

10.03.2014

Expert lawyers representing the widow of a former Swale District Council worker, who died of an asbestos-related cancer just weeks after being diagnosed with the killer disease, have secured a settlement of £128,575 against his former employers who exposed him to the deadly dust.

Edward Jacobs, known as Ted, died in November 2011 aged 77 of mesothelioma less than a month after finding out he had cancer.

The grandfather-of-six worked for Swale District Council and subsequently Swale Borough Council as a painter and decorator between 1976 and 1990. Before his death, Ted said he remembered working with asbestos guttering and artex – a surface coating for ceilings and walls which used to contain asbestos – at various council properties.

In the final years of his employment, Ted refused to work with asbestos guttering any longer as he was concerned about the impact it could have on his health after hearing about the risks, but tragically it was too late and the damage was already done.

His wife Anita launched a legal battle for justice to find out more about what happened to her husband with help from asbestos disease experts at Irwin Mitchell. The firm has now secured her a settlement of £128,575.00 from the council’s former insurers to provide her with financial security.

Anita, 70, from Cromer in Norfolk, said: “Ted started struggling with breathing difficulties and after having some scans was sent for a biopsy. He was told he has mesothelioma and less than a month later he died.

“We knew he wouldn’t have very long left but it was devastating when he passed away so soon. We didn’t have any time to come to terms with his illness.

“I remember he disliked working with the asbestos gutters. He had to clean them and scrape away debris that was inside. By the end of his time at the council, he had heard about the dangers of asbestos so refused to work on asbestos gutters any longer. It’s just so sad that it was too late.

“I’m relieved that the legal process is now over. Although nothing can bring Ted back, I at least feel now that there has been some accountability, and I can begin to think about looking to the future.”

Ted’s job as a council painter and decorator saw him work at schools, hospitals and council houses throughout the area.

Alice Humphreys, an asbestos disease expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office representing Anita in her battle for justice, said: “This is a tragic case that left Anita completely shocked by his sudden death from an illness she didn’t know he had until less than a month before.

“At the time of Ted’s employment employers were well aware of the dangers of asbestos, and by the end of his career so was Ted, but a failure to provide him with proper protective equipment has had fatal consequences.

“I am pleased for Anita that the legal battle has now ended and hope it allows her to begin rebuilding her life focusing on happy memories of Ted rather than searching for answers about her loss.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to mesothelioma claims.