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Widow of Sheffield asbestos exposure cancer victim appeals for witnesses

Asbestos related cancer appeal


The widow of a Sheffield joiner, who died after being exposed to asbestos, is searching for people who worked alongside her husband to come forward to assist with her legal claim for compensation.

John Beckingham, 57, from Brincliffe, Sheffield, died from mesothelioma, the fatal asbestos lung disease, on 9 November 2003. At the inquest the following May, it was found that Mr Beckingham's death was due to malignant mesothelioma, caused by asbestos exposure and the Coroner returned a verdict of industrial disease.

Mr Beckingham was exposed to asbestos whilst working as a joiner for T&C Williams of Norton Lees Lane, Sheffield, between 1968 and 1971.

At T & C Williams, Mr Beckingham came into contact with asbestos when he was based at the firms joinery workshop in Furnival Road and when working on various construction sites in the Yorkshire area. Mr Beckingham was exposed when cutting Asbestolux sheets which were used for boxing in pipes and lining doors. Asbestos was also used to line ceilings and forecourt canopies on petrol filling stations.

Mr Beckingham was not provided with any proper facemask and it is believed that inhaling asbestos dust led to him contracting the fatal illness.

Asbestos related cancer solicitors

Helen Ashton, of the personal injury team at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, based at its offices in Sheffield's Riverside, is representing Mrs Beckingham in existing court proceedings against T&C Williams.

Ms Ashton said: We are keen to trace former colleagues of Mr Beckingham as T&C Williams are disputing the length of time they employed him and the nature of his exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos exposure claim

The period, and extent of Mr Beckingham's exposure at T & C Williams Ltd has become increasingly important following the decision in the case of Barker v Corus UK Plc, which was decided by the House of Lords on 3 May 2006. As a result of the Barker case, blame will be apportioned between all those employers who negligently exposed a mesothelioma sufferer to asbestos dust and fibres. If some of those employers have since gone out of business, then the victim will no longer receive full compensation.

This decision is grossly unfair especially when medical knowledge cannot say which fibres caused the illness. It is a decision which favours the insurance companies, who have already made substantial profits from the insurance premiums they have been paid, and is a gross injustice to those afflicted with this appalling disease.

Mr Beckingham also had exposure to asbestos when working as a joiner for another Sheffield building company, B Powell and Son Ltd, based on Cavendish Street, between 1971 and 1975. Proceedings cannot be taken against B Powell and Son Ltd, as the company no longer exists and despite extensive enquiries, the relevant insurers have not come forward.

Mrs Beckingham stands to lose a substantial amount of her compensation following the Barker decision and anyone able to offer information either about T & C Williams Ltd or B Powell and Son Ltd should contact Helen Ashton at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100.

Have you got an asbestos exposure related claim? If we can help you or someone you know with a case, visit our asbestos claims section.

Relevant contact - Helen Ashton