Devastated Widow Takes Important Step In Legal Battle Following Her Husband's Mesothelioma Death

Specialist Industrial Disease Lawyers Issue High Court Proceedings Against Cramlington Man’s Former Employers

17.03.2016

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

A devastated Cramlington woman has taken an important step in her battle for answers concerning how and why her husband was exposed to asbestos, which caused him to develop mesothelioma, a terminal cancer.

Alan Cook, a former laboratory technician from Dudley, Cramlington was diagnosed with the disease in March 2015 after suffering indigestion and stomach pain and sadly passed away on 26 September 2015, aged 68, after a short battle with the disease.

Before his death he instructed expert asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he was exposed to the deadly material and if more should have been done by his former employers to protect him.

Since his death, his widow, Jennifer Cook, has continued to fight for answers and her legal team have now issued formal legal proceedings at the High Court against Tioxide, the company where Alan believed he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres.

He worked at the company’s Billingham site between 1965 and 1970, where his role included conducting experiments on titanium pigment, which was used in toothpaste, white bread and plastics.

Before his death he said that he and his colleagues would use two types of asbestos rope during the experiments, which they would touch with their bare hands and cut with knives.

Alan told his legal team at Irwin Mitchell that the ropes would release dust and fibres into the atmosphere and that his work clothes were often covered in asbestos dust by the end of the day.

He also recalled the pipework at the facility being lagged with asbestos and repair work taking place while he was present, which led to further dust and fibres being released into the working atmosphere.

Jennifer, backed by asbestos-related disease experts at Irwin Mitchell, is now appealing for Alan’s former colleagues from Tioxide to come forward with crucial information on the presence of asbestos at the company’s Billingham site and the safety measures, if any, implemented to protect workers from the dangers of asbestos.

Expert Opinion
“Asbestos dust and fibres can be extremely dangerous when inhaled or ingested and can cause a number of serious and sometimes fatal diseases, but all too often we see instances where employees were not given the correct information or protective equipment to prevent their exposure to the deadly material.

“Alan’s diagnosis had a huge impact on his life and he wanted to know why he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres without any warnings about the risks the material posed. His family are still determined to understand how he was exposed and we have now issued High Court proceedings in a bid to get them the answers they deserve about Alan’s death.

“We would like to hear from anyone who worked at Tioxide in the 1960s and 70s as they may have crucial information that will help Alan’s his family understand what happened and begin to provide them with some closure concerning his death.
Roger Maddocks, Partner

Jennifer, said: “Alan’s mesothelioma diagnosis was a terrible shock to us all and it was terrible to see him in so much distress and losing so much weight.

“We are still struggling to come to terms with his death and while we know nothing can ever bring him back we feel we need to get some answers for Alan and ensure those responsible for exposing him to this dreadful substance are held to account for failing to protect him and those he worked alongside.

“He told me he was never warned of the dangers of asbestos while working for Tioxide or provided with any sort of protection from the asbestos he handled on a daily basis.

Anyone with information about working conditions at Tioxide in the 1960s and 70s should contact Johnny Coulthard on 0191 279 0130.