Woman Died Of Mesothelioma After Washing Husbands Work Overalls

Family Asks His Former Colleagues To Help Specialist Lawyers Investigate Asbestos Exposure


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
The family of a woman who died from mesothelioma, a terminal cancer caused by inhaling asbestos dust while cleaning her husband’s work overalls decades ago, is appealing for his former colleagues to assist with an investigation into the working conditions he endured.

An inquest held on 16 September confirmed that Mary Pointer (nee Bishop), 86, from Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland, died of the industrial disease mesothelioma on 12th April 2014.

Before her death Mary instructed specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and why she was exposed to the deadly dust. Her 49-year-old son Darryl is now continuing the case on her behalf and is appealing to his father’s former colleagues to help provide lawyers with information.

Mary had been married for 45 years to Ronald Pointer who died in 1999 aged 85. Mr Pointer worked for the CEGB in Marchwood Power Station by the River Test in Southampton from around 1955 to 1970 in the boiler room before becoming a turbine operator. 

His widow Mary explained before she died that she regularly washed his overalls which were covered in dust. He wore work trousers and a thick heavy coat which was layered with asbestos dust which she used to shake out every day for around 10 years. 

The family didn’t have a plumbed in bath or shower so Mr Pointer would sometimes head straight to bed with asbestos dust in his hair which would also get onto the bedding which when shook before cleaning would also send clouds of asbestos dust into the air.

Roger Maddocks, a Partner in the asbestos-related disease team at Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
This is a tragic case in which a widow died of mesothelioma caused simply by inhaling the asbestos dust as she cleaned her husband’s overalls and their bedding in the 1960s.

“Mrs Pointer was just trying to care for her family but has now paid the ultimate price. Most employers knew about the risks of asbestos in the 1960s but sadly too many did not do enough to protect their workers or their families from the dangers”.

“Mesothelioma is a horrible disease and unfortunately there is no cure. It takes decades after exposure to the harmful dust and fibres before symptoms develop, but once they do it is devastating for the victims and their families.

“We are looking for people who worked with Mr Pointer at Marchwood Power Station, or who worked there in the 1960s, as they may be able to help provide vital information so that we can move the family’s case forward.”
Roger Maddocks, Partner

Mary’s only son, Darryl Pointer, said: “I was absolutely distraught seeing my mum deteriorate so quickly. I saw and felt the pain and anguish she endured for the last three short weeks of her life. She was my mum, a wonderful and beautiful lady. Where were the warnings of the dangers of asbestos dust? She devotedly cared for her home and family - I just don’t understand why she should die now as a result.

“It won’t just be my mum; it will be affecting other people’s loved ones, too. Please, I urge you, if you have any information about the working conditions at the Power Station or know anyone who worked with my dad, contact us as you may be able to help with our investigations.”

Anyone who can help provide information about working at Marchwood Power Station in the 1960s should contact Kirstie Wilson at Irwin Mitchell on 0191 279 0136 or email Kirstie.wilson@irwinmitchell.com.