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Mesothelioma sufferers urged to make claim
SUFFERERS of an asbestos-related cancer are being urged to seek legal advice, after a landmark case which could pave the way for hundreds of compensation claims running into millions of pounds.
Caroline Wilcock’s “substantial” settlement from the successors of the Cape asbestos factory, in Bowburn, County Durham, is said to have cleared the way for any diagnosed mesothelioma sufferer, or a relative if the sufferer has died, who contracted the disease while living in Bowburn between 1965 and 1985 to sue for damages.
Cape has still made no public comments on the case, which ended in an out-of-court settlement shortly before it was due before the High Court on Wednesday (October 16).
Today (Thursday, October 17), Ann Sproat, a childhood friend of Miss Wilcock who helped build her case, urged other victims to come forward.
“I’m so pleased she won her case. It’s brilliant."she said.
“More people should go for it. I think there will be a lot more people coming forward.”
Mrs Sproat, now of Langdale Place, Newton Aycliffe, remembers picking up asbestos debris from near the factory as a child and using it as “chalk” to draw hopscotch boards.
Cars were so thick with asbestos dust she would write “clean me” in it with her finger and her mother would tell her not to play outside because it was “snowing” the then-unidentified substance.
“I remember telling her it couldn’t be snowing in the summer,” she said.
The 55-year-old, who has survived breast cancer, now faces a horrendous wait to see if she, like Miss Wilcock, will develop mesothelioma, as the cancer can take more than 40 years to develop.
“It concerns me,” she said.
“We all did the same things. We didn’t know what it was.”
Mrs Sproat learned of Miss Wilcock’s case from the 51-year-old London-based fashion designer’s mother, who still lives in Bowburn.
Moved by Miss Wilcock’s illness, she gave a witness statement and knocked on doors to collect further evidence for the case.
She and other witnesses would have been giving evidence to the High Court via a video link from the Royal County Hotel, in Durham, tomorrow (Friday).
Do you think you might be affected by this case? Call Mark Tallentire on 0191-384-4600.
To speak to Field Fisher Waterhouse lawyers, who represented Miss Wilcock, call 020-7861-4000.
THE former Cape asbestos factory site is now home to a large housing estate, having been declared clean by inspectors four years ago.
The factory closed in 1990 with the loss of 170 jobs and was demolished in 1993.
The 30-acre site then stood idle until it was sold to Esh Group, which spent £1.8m on decontaminating it.
Contractors were on site, near Bowburn’s North Industrial Estate, for ten months before inspectors from the National House Builders’ Council declared it clean and prepared for development in 2009.
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