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Inquest Into Death Of Devoted Grandfather Confirms Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos Disease Lawyer Appeals To Carpenter’s Former Colleagues To Help With Investigation


Lawyers acting for the devastated widow of a retired Devon carpenter are appealing to his former colleagues to help provide information that could help in her legal battle for justice after an inquest confirmed on Thursday he died from an asbestos related disease.

‘Devoted’ family man Ronald Dunk from Torquay died aged 72 on 18 January 2012 after battling mesothelioma for nine months, leaving behind his distraught wife Marion, four children and three grandchildren.

The coroner Mr Ian Arrow gave a verdict of death by industrial disease at Torquay Coroners Court yesterday and now specialist asbestos related disease experts from law firm Irwin Mitchell are appealing to Ronald’s former colleagues, who may hold vital evidence, to get in touch so his wife of 46 years Marion can see justice for his death.

Mr Dunk worked for a small company called Globe R B Limited in Torquay on separate occasions between 1998 and 2001, working mainly on conversions. His boss was Phil Bearn and it was a small company with 10 - 12 employees. 

Helen Grady, an asbestos law expert from Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office, said: “Ronald worked as a carpenter in the Torquay area.  Whilst working for Globe R B Ltd he recalled having to strip off a large asbestos roof at a local bakery in Teignmouth and said it was a very dusty job.  As he was working with asbestos, his boss had ordered a special skip with a lid that was left out on the roadside. 

"From the 1980s there have been very strict regulations in force about how asbestos should be handled because it is such a dangerous material and exposure to very small concentrations can be potentially fatal.

"In order to help Mrs Dunk in her battle to see justice for her husband’s death, I am particularly keen to hear from workers from Globe R B Limited as they may have key information about the presence of asbestos and working practices at this company.

"Despite insurance being compulsory in the UK from 1972, my early enquiries are suggesting that there was no insurance cover in place.  Any assistance in relation to identifying insurers for this company is urgently required.

"Mesothelioma is an asbestos related cancer for which there is sadly no cure. Although it can take many years from exposure to onset of the illness, once diagnosed it can be very aggressive and debilitating.”

Ronald first began showing symptoms in April 2011 when he suffered breathlessness but chose not to have chemotherapy and radiotherapy. He died just nine months later in Rowcroft Hospice.

Marion said: “When we were told of Ronald’s diagnosis we were all absolutely devastated. We have four children and three grandchildren, aged between 12 -14. Ronald was very devoted to our family in terms of help and support, and in view of his previously good health had hoped to be in a position to do this for many years to come.

“Ronald was never warned about the dangers of asbestos dust and was not supplied with any breathing equipment or overalls for the job.

“I’m pleading to anyone with any information, no matter how small, to get in touch with Helen at Irwin Mitchell as it could be a vital piece of evidence.”

Anyone who can help with any information is asked to contact Helen Grady at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or email helen.grady@irwinmitchell.com