An inquest today found that the death of a 32 year-old father of three was death due to asbestos-related mesothelioma and recorded a verdict of Accidental Death. Barry Welch, from Braunstone in Leicester, is believed to be the youngest ever victim of the asbestos related cancer.
Mr Welch died on 27th April 2005, after an 11-month battle against the illness, leaving behind a wife, Claire, and three daughters, Natasha (12) Samantha (10) and Letitia (7).
Leicester Coroner James Symington heard, at Leicester Town Hall, that Barry Welch, who until the aged of nine lived in Chatham, contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos dust and fibres brought home on work overalls by his stepfather Roger Bugby.
In recording his Verdict Mr Symington said that he was not going to record a verdict of industrial disease purely on the grounds of Barry not having been exposed to the Asbestos in the workplace, but instead recognised that he had been exposed to the deadly fibres in his home environment.
Mr Bugby worked as a scaffolder at Kingsnorth Power Station, Kent between 1977 and 1979 and during that time was regularly exposed to asbestos dust at the plant. Mr Bugby would return from work, covered in asbestos dust on his overalls, his skin and in his hair. Before changing out of his overalls he would relax and Barry would often sit on his lap.
It is believed that this exposure to asbestos dust as a young child led to Barry contracting mesothelioma in later life. A number of previous mesothelioma cases have involved the wives of workers who have been exposed to asbestos whilst laundering their husbands' asbestos contaminated work clothes. However the case of Barry Welch is believed to be the first of its kind.
Commenting on the family's legal battle for compensation, Adrian Budgen, a partner with national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, said: "The family welcomes the clarity provided by today's decision from HM Coroner, although understandably they were greatly upset by the findings of the post-mortem which revealed in detail the true extent of Barry's illness and the obvious pain and suffering he had endured as a result of this extremely aggressive form of cancer"
Mr Budgen continued "From a legal point of view we now the findings of the post mortem and today's verdict will enable us to move forward with the civil case for compensation and it is our intention to issue proceedings against Palmers Ltd (formerly Palmers Scaffolding Ltd), Mr Bugby's former employers, very shortly."
His widow, Claire, said: "Barry and I were together for 16 years. For as long as I'd known him he had always suffered from a bad chest but we never imagined it was anything serious. He had always been a fit and active man and he loved to spend his spare time fishing.
When he was first diagnosed with mesothelioma in May 2004 we were all completely devastated by the news. The last few months of his illness were particularly harrowing as the cancer spread into his liver and he underwent chemotherapy."
Our expert mesothelioma solicitors will provide you with free initial advice on your compensation claim if you or a loved on has been diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.