£250K asbestos death claim

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A bereaved widow who claims her husband was killed by the after-effects of asbestos exposure in the workplace is now battling for £250,000 compensation over her loss.

Barrie Gedney died aged 69 in January 2012 after developing the devastating lung disease, mesothelioma, which was diagnosed the previous month.

His widow, Mary Gedney, of Crossgate Crescent, Pinchbeck, claims his illness was caused by years of exposure to asbestos dust at a factory in West Marsh Road, Spalding, where he worked as an electrician.

Mrs Gedney says her husband was employed at the plant by Uniq Prepared Foods, or their corporate predecessors, for over 30 years.

According to a writ filed at London’s High Court, he worked at the West Marsh Road site until 1989 when the company relocated its factory elsewhere in Spalding.

Mrs Gedney (70) is seeking damages from Chesterfield-based Uniq Prepared Foods with claims that the company, or its predecessors, failed to warn her husband of the risks of exposure or provide proper safety equipment.

In the writ, her lawyers make untested claims that he frequently worked on two brick-built boilers that were coated with a ‘soft powdery type of asbestos referred to as ‘monkey muck’’.

Mr Gedney was in good health until he began experiencing increasing breathlessness in late 2010, the writ states. In December 2011 a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma was confirmed.

Asbestos was used in many workplaces until the 1990s when its risks became well-known. Its dust and fibres are notorious for staying dormant in the body for decades. Mrs Gedney’s lawyers say her husband’s life expectancy was probably cut by up to 24 years. They value his widow’s claim at between £250,000 and £300,000.

The company’s defence to the action was not available from the court, and the claims in the writ have yet to be tested in evidence before a judge.