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Durham Woman Gains Settlement Over Childhood Asbestos Exposure

Victim ‘Played With Material Outside Factory’


A woman from County Durham who developed the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma after being exposed to the deadly material during her childhood has won a settlement.

Fashion designer Caroline Wilcock, 51, who developed the cancer three years ago, received the out-of-court settlement from Cape Intermediate Holdings PLC, previously known as The Cape Asbestos Company.

Her legal case was based around the fact she grow up in Bowburn next to an asbestos factory where local children often played and made snowballs out of the dangerous substance.

Mrs Wilcock, who was exposed to  asbestos dust  between 1967 and 1983, said she took the action as she “had a responsibility to the community” and felt it was vital to “talk about it publicly”.

Expert Opinion
This case is similar to so many we have been involved in through the years, with victims developing fatal illness as a result of exposure to asbestos many decades ago.

"While the dangers of asbestos have been well known for many years, many companies and employers failed to take the necessary action to protect both their workers and the local community from the material.

"This has meant that asbestos has left a tragic mark on many lives down the years, including on those who have not necessarily worked in industrial environments. Because of the long time lag, often several decades, between exposure to asbestos dust and development of the illness sadly it will continue to do so for years. We are also seeing an increasing number of cases based around exposure to the material in schools and other public buildings such as hospitals.

"Very little can be done to right the wrongs of the past, but we hope that cases of this kind prove to be important examples of why compliance with asbestos safety regulations now is so vital."
Roger Maddocks, Partner