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Devastated Widow Launches Battle For Justice After Losing Husband To Asbestos Cancer

Industrial Illness Experts Appeal To Former Colleagues For Vital Information


By Helen MacGregor

The heartbroken wife of a former carpenter and joiner who died of an asbestos-related cancer has launched a battle to find answers about her loss and is backing calls for his former colleagues to get in touch with information.

Christopher Smith, from Luton, died in February 2011 aged 59 of mesothelioma, a cancer in the lining of the lungs, leaving his wife of 32 years, Margaret, and daughter Nichola, 35, devastated.

The family instructed industrial illness experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell in a battle for justice and are backing calls to Christopher’s former colleagues at Marshalls of Luton Builders Ltd (no longer trading) to get in touch as they may hold vital evidence about the presence of asbestos and working conditions at the firm, as well as insurance company details.

Joanne Jefferies, an asbestos expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office representing the family, said: “Margaret and Nicola have been left devastated by the death of Christopher and understandably want answers about their loss.

“Before he died, Christopher remembered being exposed to asbestos at Marshalls of Luton Builders during his time working there between 1968 and 1984. He joined as an apprentice but after qualifying in the early 1970s he recalled working with sheets and boards containing asbestos which were used to fireproof doors and walls.

“He had to cut the Asbestolux sheets to size which caused so much dust it could be like a fog, yet he was never warned of the dangers of asbestos or given any protective clothing to wear.

“Asbestos is the biggest occupational killer of all time yet employers have been well aware of the dangers of the deadly dust since the 1950, 60s and 70s. We hope any of Christopher’s former colleagues get in touch, as any information, no matter how small, may help bring justice for his family.”

Christopher was still working as a Carpenter until he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in the summer of 2010, after suffering chest pains and a cough.

He had surgery to remove a tumour in his lungs and chemotherapy, but lost his fight for life in February 2011 at Keech Hospice Care in Bedfordshire.

Wife Margaret, a medical secretary, said: “When we were told Christopher had terminal cancer we were absolutely devastated. He had always been fit and healthy and we were planning a long and happy retirement together.

“I have been robbed of that opportunity and this is something I still find very hard to come to terms with. Christopher and I had spent many years happily married living side by side but now the house feels empty and I have lost my best friend.

“We desperately want answers about where and why Christopher came into contact with asbestos and why he was not protected from it so we can start to accept what has happened and move forward with our lives.”

Anyone who thinks they may be able to help is asked to contact Joanne Jefferies at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or email joanne.jefferies@irwinmitchell.com

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to mesothelioma claims