Mesothelioma widow appeals to husband's former colleagues

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Mesothelioma widow appeals to husband's former colleagues

30th July 2012

The widow of a Folkestone man who died after being exposed to asbestos in the 1970s up until 1983 has appealed to her husband’s former colleagues to come forward in her fight for justice.

Patricia Emery, 63, of Firs Close, Folkestone said her 62-year-old husband Roger died of the painful asbestos-related lung cancer mesothelioma in May 2011 after he was diagnosed with the disease in December 2010.

“Roger knew pretty much straight away that his illness was a result of the asbestos he had been exposed to through his work in the 1970s,” said Mrs Emery. “Before he died he started proceedings against two of his former employers but we still desperately need vital information from anyone he used to work with to help secure the justice he deserves.

“Roger first became ill in September 2010 after developing a nasty persistent cough that he just couldn’t seem to get rid of,” added Mrs Emery. “After telling his GP he had worked with asbestos in the past, he was referred to a specialist who diagnosed him with mesothelioma in December 2010.”

Nick Greaves, an industrial disease expert at Fentons Solicitors LLP, representing Mrs Emery, said his client’s husband worked as a maintenance man in the underground pumping stations at Chatham, Cuxton and Strood between 1976 and 1978. “Roger was employed by a civil engineering company called Walker Brothers Ltd in Folkestone who are now known as Walker Construction Ltd,” said Mr Greaves, a solicitor at the firm.

“Roger was also employed as a carpenter by Balfour Beatty Plc between 1978 and 1983, when he worked at Dungeness Power Station in south-east Kent,” added Mr Greaves. “We believe that Roger was exposed to asbestos by two separate employers. The law however, only requires us to identify one responsible party and as such, we need to determine the exact circumstances of his exposure. This is why we need witness accounts from Roger’s colleagues for both Walker Brothers Ltd and Balfour Beatty Plc.”

Mr Greaves said that when Mr Emery worked as a maintenance man, part of his job involved dismantling asbestos-lagged pipe work. “Roger said that the lagging was always chipping off in tiny dust particles whenever anyone brushed up against it. Before he died, he described how it was impossible to avoid inhaling the dusty air in the confined spaces he worked in.

“For some reason, his employers never provided him with any kind of protective mask and they never warned him about the dangers of working with asbestos,” said Mr Greaves. “Roger used to come home covered in toxic asbestos dust but at the time, neither he nor his wife had any idea the dust coating his clothes and hair was so lethal.

“When Roger worked at Dungeness Power Station for Balfour Beatty as a carpenter, he and his colleagues would work alongside pipe-laggers from ‘Cape Insulation’ in the turbine hall and main reactor building as well as several other areas all over the vast complex,” added Mr Greaves. “The men lagging the pipes with asbestos were all equipped with protective face masks but astonishingly Roger and his colleagues had to work in the same confined spaces unprotected.

“Following his tragic death in May 2011, Roger’s wife Patricia took up his fight for justice against his former employers,” continued Mr Greaves. “The problem we now face however, is locating people who worked alongside Roger so they can verify that he was exposed to asbestos during his employment at Walker Brothers and Balfour Beatty. The entire case now hinges on whether we can obtain these vital testimonies as without them it could mean his family may go uncompensated for the terrible illness he had to suffer before his subsequent death.”

Can you help? If you remember working alongside Roger Emery between 1976 and 1980, or if you worked for Walker Brothers Ltd or at Dungeness Power Station for Balfour Beatty Plc and think you can help in any way, please call Nick Greaves on 0207 092 2848 or e-mail