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Joiner’s Family Appeals For Help From Former Colleagues Following Mesothelioma Death

Expert Industrial Diseases Lawyers Investigating Asbestos Exposure


The family of a joiner who died from an asbestos-related cancer is appealing for his former colleagues to help expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate whether more could have been done by his employers to protect him from the deadly dust. 

Edward Lawn, who was known as “Ted” from Leeds, West Yorkshire, died on 21 April 2013 aged 92.

An inquest was held on 28 July 2014 after his death and the Coroner held that Ted died from malignant mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos dust.  

Mesothelioma is an incurable asbestos-related cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, which develops as a result of exposure to harmful dust and fibres up decades ago.

During his lifetime, Ted recalled working for many local employers in West Yorkshire.  However, he specifically recalled working at Ferrybridge Power Station for Turriff Construction Limited on the cooling towers and in the turbine room and believed exposed to asbestos would have occurred here. 

He also recalled working as a joiner for Wakefield Council and Leeds City Council at St James Hospital and believed exposure to asbestos would have occurred here.

Following his death, his family instructed industrial disease experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate where he was exposed to asbestos and why he wasn’t provided with adequate safety equipment to protect him during his employment.

During his lifetime Ted discussed his working life with his family and how he was exposed to asbestos. One of Ted’s son, Peter also recalls working with his father and exposure to asbestos occurring on site.

Together, the family and their specialist asbestos-related disease lawyers at Irwin Mitchell are now appealing former colleagues to help with the investigation as they may have crucial information on the working conditions Ted was exposed to.

Nicola Handley, a specialist industrial disease solicitor at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, representing the family, said: 

Expert Opinion
“We believe that Ted was substantially exposed to asbestos while working in the conditions he described before his death.

“We are therefore seeking to find answers for his family now in order to help them understand precisely how his exposure to asbestos arose. We are urging any of Ted’s former colleagues to come forward to help us with the investigation with any information about the working conditions and his employment at Turriff Construction in the 1960’s and Wakefield and Leeds Council in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

“Despite it being known that Ted’s illness was related to asbestos exposure we are still required to provide the necessary evidence ourselves in order to resolve the case. This is despite the fact that some companies often have documentation within their own possession, such as plans and health and safety reports that could quickly prove whether or not exposure to asbestos may have occurred.

“Mesothelioma is incurable and the debilitating symptoms can only be treated temporarily. The effects of working with asbestos don’t occur until decades later, and Ted’s family have suffered terribly, simply because he wasn’t adequately protected at work.”
Nicola Handley, Solicitor

Despite being in his 90s when he was diagnosed with the disease Ted was very active. He enjoyed ballroom dancing and tending to his allotments. Once he was diagnosed, his condition deteriorated slowly and he lost his independence and was moved to a nursing home.

Ted’s son Andrew, 50, said: “My father was elderly but he was fit and well prior to his diagnosis. He enjoyed tending to his allotments regularly but regrettably he was quickly unable to do this. 

“My father took the diagnosis very badly and he rapidly went downhill.  He wanted to stay at home as long as possible but eventually he had to receive care on a full time basis in a nursing home.

“It has also been difficult to come to terms with the fact that my father’s illness was caused by his exposure to asbestos decades ago simply by going to work and it is very important that we now find the answers to how this happened.”

Anyone who knew or worked with Ted and who can provide any information is asked to contact Nicola Handley at Irwin Mitchell on 0113 220 6233 or by email at nicola.handley@irwinmitchell.com.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, our expert mesothelioma solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.

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