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Family Of Teacher Killed By Asbestos Disease Call On His Former Colleagues For Help

Loved Ones And Lawyers Seek Information On Sidney Smith High School

11.06.2018

James Clarke, Press Officer | +44 (0)161 838 3169

The family of a languages teacher from Hull who died last year from an asbestos-related disease have teamed up with lawyers to call on his former colleagues to come forward and help them gain justice regarding his death.

Paul Priestley-Leach died on May 28th, aged 77 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lung most commonly associated with exposure to asbestos materials.

Following his death, his loved ones were keen to gain answers regarding how he developed the illness and instructed Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Asbestos-Related Disease team to investigate whether it may have been linked to his work history.

Now, as their investigations continue, the legal experts are keen to hear from anyone who worked with Paul during his time as a languages teacher at Sidney Smith High School in Hull between 1968 and 1988 or could shed light on the potential presence of asbestos at the site.

Ian Toft, the Partner and specialist asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office who represents Paul’s family, said: 

Expert Opinion
“Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive, and sadly, incurable, form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos dust fibres. It is responsible for the deaths of more than 2,500 people in the UK every year.

“While asbestos exposure is commonly linked to work in industrial environments, we are increasingly seeing cases in which contact with the material is thought to have taken place in public buildings such as schools or hospitals.

“One year on from his death, Paul’s family remain desperate for answers regarding how his illness emerged and whether more could have been done to prevent it. We would be grateful to anyone who may be able to come forward and support our work in this area.”
Ian Toft, Partner

Prior to his death, Paul recalled how he believed that the Sydney Smith High School building was built in the 1960s and was a clasp building comprising of concrete panels.

His son Oliver said: “Dad had told us how he believed that the school building used asbestos materials and fireproofing in its structure, walls and ceiling. This could have been disturbed during building works.

“He also touched upon how he worked close to warm air heaters and thought that they may have either contained or helped to distribute any asbestos which might have been previously disturbed.

“The whole family remains devastated by losing Dad and we just feel we deserve answers regarding what ultimately led to his death. If anyone has information which could help us we would be hugely grateful.”

Anyone with information which may assist this case is asked to contact Ian Toft at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office on 0113 218 6453 or email ian.toft@IrwinMitchell.com.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in mesothelioma cases.