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Daughter Of Asbestos Victim Seeks Her Mother’s Ex-Colleagues In Battle For Justice

Irwin Mitchell Launch Appeal to Help Discover How Mum Of Two Was Exposed To The Deadly Dust


The devoted daughter of a woman who was diagnosed with mesothelioma just three weeks before she died is appealing for her mother’s former work colleagues to help lawyers investigate how she was allowed to come into contact with the deadly dust.

Cynthia Amelia Richards, of Powys, died on 25 November 2011 of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer linked to asbestos exposure. The 78-year-old spent her final few weeks with her daughter Mary Bell, of Pencombe, Herefordshire, who has instructed industrial disease experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate her mother’s case.

Cynthia, a mother of two, believed she was exposed to asbestos while working at the BRD factory in Newtown, Powys, believed to be a subsidiary of the large GKN Group, where she made car parts between 1965 and 1991.

The widow first started to show signs of the incurable illness last year but when she complained to her GP about the symptoms, such as breathlessness, she was initially told it was most likely caused by old age. Doctors eventually diagnosed mesothelioma three weeks before she died and the condition was confirmed at an inquest into her death at Hereford Coroner’s Court on 20 June 2012. 

Mary said: “My mum was the centre of our family. It has completely shocked the whole family that she passed away after such a short illness. We miss her dreadfully.

“I don’t think we will ever get over how quickly she deteriorated and we are incredibly upset that her symptoms were not taken more seriously by her doctor or picked up sooner.

“My mum and dad, Gordon, were really well known in Newtown where they lived together and where my brother Paul and I grew up. My dad ran a cobblers shop in the town centre and my mum was a familiar face at the BRD factory. I hope as many of her former work colleagues come forward as possible to ensure lawyers at Irwin Mitchell can investigate how and why my mum was allowed to come into contact with asbestos at work.

“I hope her case raises awareness of this debilitating disease. We do not want other families to go through what we have.”

Geraldine Coombs, an industrial disease expert from Irwin Mitchell’s Manchester office, representing the family, added: “Cynthia’s family are still coming to terms with her death and particularly the shock of discovering the illness which cut short her life was the result of an industrial disease and asbestos exposure.

“More than 2,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. It’s a devastating terminal illness and can be very distressing for the victims and their families. 

“To help Cynthia’s family get to the bottom of how and why she was exposed to asbestos we would like to hear from anyone who worked at the BRD factory in Newtown, Powys who can shed light on the working conditions.”

Anyone with information should contact Geraldine Coombs on 0161 838 3061 or email geraldine.coombs@irwinmitchell.com.