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Widow Searches for Ex-workers after Husband Dies from Asbestos Related Cancer

Asbestos appeal


The wife of a Peterborough man, who died after being exposed to asbestos, is appealing for his former work colleagues to come forward to help in her legal battle for compensation.

Marlene Johnson is urging anyone who worked at R M Douglas Limited in Whickham, near Gateshead between 1973 and 1974 and Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, between 1975 and 1977 to come forward with information to assist in a compensation claim on behalf of her husband Thomas Edwin Johnson (known as Eddie to his friends).

Mr Johnson, who lived in the Alwalton area of Peterborough, died aged 59 on the 2 September 2005 from Mesothelioma, an asbestos cancer, caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. At an inquest on 12 January 2006, the Coroner for South and West Cambridgeshire recorded a verdict of asbestos-related industrial disease.

Between 1973 and 1974 Mr Johnson was employed by R M Douglas Ltd., based on Front Street in Whickham, which was the new shopping centre and flats, as a joiner, working on the construction of new buildings. He was exposed to substantial amounts of asbestos dust and fibres when using asbestolux sheets to box in pipes and steelwork and create soffits. He worked as part of a team of joiners on the site and a former colleague who was on the management side for the company was John Milthorpe.

Between 1975 and 1977 Mr Johnson was employed by Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council as a joiner, working on the construction of new housing sites and was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres when cutting asbestolux sheets to create soffits. One of his former colleagues, he recalled, was Alan Parrish.

Mr Johnson's wife, Marlene said, "I have lost an absolutely wonderful husband because of this dreadful illness and I am finding it very difficult to come to terms with my loss. Eddie started his legal claim and I am determined to continue this to see that justice is done. Any help anyone can provide to me will be greatly appreciated".

Helen Ashton from the Sheffield office of national law firm Irwin Mitchell is representing Mr Johnson's widow in her legal claim. She said "We believe that Mr Johnson's mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibre whilst employed at R M Douglas Ltd. and Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council. Unfortunately, both are disputing that Mr Johnson would have been exposed to asbestos whilst employed by them at these points in time and we are appealing for any of his former colleagues or indeed other men who worked for these companies between 1973 and 1977 to come forward to assist with the legal claim.

"Mr Johnson suffered greatly from his illness and we hope to get appropriate compensation for him and his family."

Anyone that recalls working with Thomas Edwin Johnson, or for R M Douglas Limited and Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council and has any information about the use of asbestos and the nature of the work undertaken by joiners, should contact Helen Ashton at Irwin Mitchell on 01142 744545