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  • Writer's pictureFearghal Harrington

£160,000 settlement for carpenter exposed to asbestos when working for a major newspaper

John was enjoying his retirement with his wife Beverley, spending time at their property in the Murcia region of Spain. John renovated the property in Spain, enjoyed playing golf and keeping active, and had always been fit and healthy.

John was in Spain playing golf when he noticed that he was becoming quite breathless and also found it difficult to swim two lengths. When John returned to the UK at the end of May 2015, his GP referred him to the Conquest Hospital for a chest x-ray. After the chest x-ray, John had to make an appointment to see his GP and John asked whether he could have cancer. John was referred for a CT scan and a PET scan and then he was referred to Guy's Hospital for a thoracoscopy, pleural biopsy and he was fitted with a PleurX drain. The district nurses visited John to clean the drain site and drain the fluid. In July 2015, John was given the diagnosis of mesothelioma and told that it was an asbestos-related disease.

John instructed Shaheen Mosquera to pursue a claim for compensation on his behalf against his former employers. John started his formal apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner with Trollope & Colls when he was 16. He was exposed to asbestos when working on fireproof doors. John completed his apprenticeship in 1969.

John Gillies started working for Beaverbrook Newspapers in 1969 when he was 20. John's father was a foreman at the Daily Express and he got him the job as a carpenter and joiner in the maintenance section. He remained with the company until 1987 when he took voluntary redundancy.

John was based at the Daily Express building in Fleet Street and he also worked at the Evening Standard building which was over the road.

When John worked at the Daily Express building he remembered that in the 70s, external contractors had made housing units for the air conditioning. The housing units were lined with asbestos internally. The air conditioning had to be altered on a regular basis which involved cutting the housing unit with a hand saw; the internal asbestos lining was damaged and asbestos dust and fibers were released.

John said that he was exposed to asbestos when dismantling old partitions and building new partitions. The pipes were along the ceilings and they were lagged with asbestos. Over the years the asbestos lagging had been knocked and chipped, leaving it all damaged. When building the partitions, John had to disturb the lagging on the pipes.

Shaheen met John at home and prepared his witness statement and then reported the claim to his former employers.

John started chemotherapy in September 2015 and had completed 6 cycles of chemotherapy by January 2016. At that time the PleurX drain was also removed which meant that John was able to travel abroad. Since the chemotherapy, John has been feeling well and has enjoyed traveling to Spain with his wife, Beverley. John's claim was settled in early July 2016 for £160,000, which meant that John and Beverley have had enough money to travel.



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