Devastated Husband Appeals For Information After His Wife Died Of Asbestos-Related Cancer

Irwin Mitchell Instructed To Investigate Working Condition at GCHQ

07.10.2015

The devastated husband of a former Government worker who died of an asbestos-related illness is appealing to her former colleagues for help as he vows to secure justice for her death.

Jayne Eustace, from Bishops Cleeve, in Cheltenham, died at just 48-years-old in March this year, after battling with pericardial mesothelioma, which is the one of the rarest forms of the disease which affects the lining of the heart, and is caused by inhaling asbestos dust.

Jayne worked at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) from 1983 to 1990, based at their Oakley site in Cheltenham, where she was initially involved with providing administration services in the freight and mail section dealing with incoming and outgoing post. 

After five years, she moved to the E Block based in one of the Army barrack blocks. The buildings were old with rusty windows and flaking walls.  Maintenance work was often carried out in E Block Tiles were often removed from the suspended ceiling which resulted in considerable amounts of dust being released.  Asbestos was present in the insulation in the ceilings and the roofs of the blocks which was disturbed whilst the maintenance was carried out by contractors. 

Jayne leaves behind her husband Andy who has instructed specialist asbestos lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the working conditions at GCHQ and whether more should have been done to protect Jayne and her colleagues from the deadly asbestos dust. Now the law firm along with Andy and his three sons aged 26, 24 and 17 are appealing to Jayne’s former work colleagues to come forward with any information about the Oakley site.

Expert Opinion
“Mesothelioma is a particularly aggressive form of cancer which has a poor prognosis for those once they are diagnosed. It can cause a significant amount of pain and suffering for victims like Jayne, as well as family and friends who see their loved ones in distress.

“Jayne should not have been exposed to asbestos whilst she was at work and we urge anyone who was familiar with the GCHQ Oakley site to come forward. Any information in relation to maintenance work or asbestos exposure at the blocks at this site will be hugely helpful for our investigations into Jayne’s exposure.

“We understand the sensitivities of the GCHQ employees being subject to the Official Secrets Act and would not be asking anyone to reveal any sensitive information regarding the nature of their work at GCHQ. It is only information about the buildings on site and the site itself that we are seeking to obtain.”
Hayley Hill, Associate

Before Jayne died, she recalled that some of the buildings close to Block E were demolished using a wrecking ball whilst she was working on site.  No warning was given to her or her colleagues prior to the demolition works taking place.  She remembered her car being dusty from the demolition works and she and her colleagues were not provided with any protective clothing or equipment whilst the maintenance work was carried out in areas containing asbestos.

Andy, 54, said: “Jayne began to feel unwell at the start of 2014 when she was suspected to have pneumonia.  She was very short of breath and went through the ordeal of having three biopsies before she was told the devastating news that she had mesothelioma.

“I read as much as I could on the internet about the illness so that I could try and help my wife as much as I could.  We went for every treatment which was made available but unfortunately, the illness was always one step ahead of us.

“We were very close as a family and my three sons and I are doing all that we can to keep us going.  We miss Jayne every day - she was a wonderful and loving mother and wife.  Any help from those who worked with Jayne or worked on the site would be welcomed with open arms to help us achieve justice for Jayne.”

Anyone who has any information about the working conditions at GCHQ is asked to contact Hayley Hill at Irwin Mitchell on 0121 214 5273 or email Hayley.Hill@irwinmitchell.com.