Scarborough Widow Appeals To Husband’s Former Colleagues Following His Asbestos-Related Death

Expert Industrial Diseases Lawyers Investigating Fylingdales Asbestos Exposure

07.09.2015

The widow of a maintenance employee who died from an asbestos-related cancer is appealing for his former colleagues to help expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether more could have been done by his employers to protect him from the deadly dust. 

Peter Whiting, from Scarborough, East Yorkshire, died on 22nd November 2014 aged 79, just four months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incurable asbestos-related cancer affecting the lining of the lungs which he believed was as a result of exposure to harmful dust and fibres four decades ago.

Following his diagnosis, Peter instructed industrial disease experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate where he was exposed to asbestos and why he wasn’t provided with adequate safety equipment to protect him during his employment.

Regrettably, Peter was not able to see the outcome of the investigations and his widow, Sylvia is continuing his fight for justice.

Together, Sylvia and her specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are appealing for her husband’s former colleagues to help with the investigation as they may have crucial information on the working conditions Peter was exposed to.

Peter started working for Radio Corporation of America (RCA) at the RAF Fylingdales in 1962 during the construction of the radar station and remained there until 1975.  Peter was initially employed to work in the stores and then progressed to working in the maintenance section. 

Before his death Peter recalled working with many different types of tradesmen including American employees and local tradesmen. He told lawyers that asbestos was sprayed into the tunnel areas where he was working but that he was not provided with any protective equipment at the time the work was carried out.

Nicola Handley, a specialist industrial disease solicitor at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office representing Sylvia, said: “We believe that Peter was substantially exposed to asbestos whilst working in the conditions he described before his death.

“We are therefore continuing his fight for justice with Sylvia to find out precisely how his exposure to asbestos arose. We are urging any of Peter’s former colleagues to come forward to help us with the investigation with any information about the working conditions and his employment at Fylingdales.

“Despite it being known that Peter’s illness was related to asbestos exposure we are still required to provide the necessary evidence ourselves in order to resolve the case. This is despite the fact that some companies often have documentation within their own possession, such as plans and health and safety reports that could quickly prove whether or not exposure to asbestos may have occurred.

“Mesothelioma is incurable and the debilitating symptoms can only be treated temporarily. The effects of working with asbestos don’t occur until decades later, and Peter’s family have suffered terribly, simply because he wasn’t adequately protected.”

Peter started to experience symptoms in early 2014, when a series of chest infections would not clear up. He went to his local GP and was referred to Castle Hill Hospital in Hull in July 2014 for an x-ray and biopsy and he was diagnosed with the terminal condition mesothelioma.

Sylvia, a mother-of-two, who was married to Peter for over 50 years, said: “Peter’s condition deteriorated rapidly over the months after his diagnosis and he required constant care from his family. It was very difficult to see him suffer; and as a family we felt helpless.

“Peter was my lifelong companion and I am still trying to come to terms with his death and the fact that we will not be growing old together as we had planned.

“It has also been difficult to come to terms with the fact that Peter’s illness was caused by his exposure to asbestos decades ago possibly through his work and it is very important that we now find the answers to how this happened.”

Anyone who knew or worked with Peter and who can provide any information is asked to contact Nicola Handley at Irwin Mitchell on 0113 220 6233 or email nicola.handley@irwinmitchell.com.

If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.