Sister Of Film Studio Painter Who Died Of Asbestos Cancer Launches Battle For Justice

Expert Asbestos Lawyers Appeal For Former Colleagues To Help With Investigation


Andrew Robinson, Press Officer | 0113 218 6463

The heartbroken sister of a former film studio painter who died within weeks of being diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer is appealing to his former colleagues to get in touch as she launches a battle for justice.

Peter Wilkinson, who was known by his friends and work colleagues as Wilks, died on 16 May 2014 of mesothelioma, a cancer in the lining of the lungs, just two weeks after receiving the devastating diagnosis.

He had become completely reliant on others for his care due to being short of breath and suffering spinal cord compression.

His sister Lizzie Wilkinson is following Peter’s wishes and has now instructed expert asbestos illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate where the 61-year-old was exposed to asbestos and whether more could have been done to protect him from the deadly dust.

Peter, who lived in Elstree and Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, worked as a painter on a number of classic films, such as The Shining and Murder of the Orient Express, during the 1970s.

Over the years, he worked at various film studios in the City including Elstree, Shepperton and Pinewood and it is thought asbestos may have been used within the studios for its fire and heat resistant properties. His work as a scenic painter continued until he began to feel unwell at the end of 2013.

During the early 1970s Peter worked for William Press LTD at the old gasworks in Mill Hill and was responsible for replacing asbestos-lagged gas pipes throughout the UK when the country converted to using natural gas.

Rosemary Giles, an expert asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Lizzie, said: 

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“This is a tragic case and Peter died very quickly following his diagnosis leaving his family devastated.

“Sadly he died before he could provide any details relating to his exposure to asbestos which is why we are appealing to his former colleagues get in touch as they may hold vital information about the presence of the material and working conditions he faced.

“Mesothelioma is a devastating illness which sadly has no cure. Employers have been well aware of the dangers of exposing workers to asbestos since as far back as the 1950s so there is no excuse for workers not to have been protected.”
Rosemary Giles, Partner

Lizzie, 64, added: “Peter first began suffering symptoms of shortness of breath at the start of 2014 and his condition rapidly deteriorated.

“It was incredibly hard to watch him suffer – he had always been very private and independent but by the end needed help with all aspects of his daily care.

“I’m still finding it very difficult to come to terms with his death; he was not elderly and should have had many years ahead of him.

“I’m determined to get answers about where and why he was exposed to asbestos and hope that anyone who can remember working with my brother at the film studios or at William Press comes forward, as any information, no matter how small, could prove vital in securing justice for what he went through.”

Anyone who thinks they might be able to help is asked to contact Rosemary Giles at Irwin Mitchell on 0203 582 6232 or email