Widow thanks former staff for help over settlement

Alan Cook, from Dudley, who died from mesothelioma in September 2015.
Alan Cook, from Dudley, who died from mesothelioma in September 2015.

A devastated widow has thanked those who supported her after receiving an undisclosed settlement over her husband’s death.

Alan Cook, a former laboratory technician from Dudley, was diagnosed with terminal cancer mesothelioma in March 2015, and sadly passed away on September 26 that year, aged 68.

Before his death, he instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how he was exposed to the deadly material and if more should have been done by his former employers to protect him.

His widow, Jennifer, continued the fight and her legal team has now secured an undisclosed settlement from the insurers of Tioxide, the company where Alan believed he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres despite it denying liability right up until the settlement was agreed.

The case was able to be concluded thanks to the help of his former colleagues after an appeal for help in the News Guardian.

He worked at the company’s Billingham site between 1965 and 1970, where his role included conducting experiments on titanium pigment.

Before his death, he said he and his colleagues would use two types of asbestos rope during the experiments, which they would touch with their bare hands and cut with knives.

Alan told Irwin Mitchell the ropes would release dust and fibres into the atmosphere and his work clothes were often covered in asbestos dust.

Jennifer had appealed for former colleagues from Tioxide to come forward with information on the presence of asbestos and the safety measures, if any, implemented.

His former colleagues were able to support his recollection that he was exposed to asbestos and that he received little or no protection.

Jennifer said: “Alan’s mesothelioma diagnosis was a terrible shock to us all.

“We are still struggling to come to terms with his death and while we know nothing can ever bring him back we feel that the settlement gives us some comfort that we have received some justice for what Alan endured.”

“I’m very grateful to his former colleagues for helping support us in our legal battle, especially as the other side disputed what had happened for so long.”

Roger Maddocks, a Partner and specialist asbestos related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Asbestos dust and fibres can be extremely dangerous when inhaled or ingested and can cause a number of serious and sometimes fatal diseases, but all too often we see instances where employees were not given the correct information or protective equipment to prevent their exposure to the deadly material.

“Alan’s diagnosis had a huge impact on his life and he wanted to know why he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres without any warnings about the risks the material posed.

“We are pleased to be able to support his family by achieving justice for his exposure to asbestos and securing them a settlement.

“It is however disappointing that despite the evidence the case was fought by the other side to the bitter end and we were forced to issue High Court proceedings in a bid to get them the answers they deserve about Alan’s death.”