Cancer victim launches £300k claim after 'deadly asbestos' exposure

Care provider Visiting Angels in Huntingdon is backing a national campaign to highlight the signs of a stroke. 

St Neots' man Berian Williams, 71, man who is suffering from asbestos related cancer has launched a high court legal battle. - Credit: PA Images

A St Neots man who is suffering from asbestos related cancer has launched a high court legal battle for compensation of up to £300,000. 

Berian Williams, 71, has developed mesothelioma, a painful cancer of the delicate tissues surrounding the lungs or the stomach. 

Mr Williams, of High Street, Little Paxton, says he was exposed to “deadly asbestos and fibers” after removing and replacing old corrugated asbestos sheets. 

MORE: Dad's death could be linked to asbestos at primary school, claims son

He started his apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery at Pembroke Docks in 1965. 

He had to hold sheets as colleagues cut them, and he drilled holes for bolts, which created asbestos dust which was impossible to avoid, and afterwards he picked up asbestos and cleaned up, says the high court writ. 

Mr Williams says he worked on replacing asbestos guttering and down pipes, using a handsaw to cut them to size, and worked with hard flat asbestos cement boards on work experience with another company. 

Part of his work involved cutting asbestos board with a handsaw to line boilers and airing cupboards, removing asbestos bath panels for plumbers to access pipes, which also exposed him to asbestos, the writ claims. 

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He states he was not warned of the dangers of asbestos, nor provided with any personal protective equipment. 

The writ issued in London’s high court, which was recently made publicly available, states that Mr Williams seeking damages from the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). 

He worked for the government department’s predecessors between 1965 and 1985. 

However, when contacted by The Hunts Post, DEFRA state that the defendant to the claim is now the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MCHLG). 

Mr Williams accuses the department of negligence, and says he was exposed to a “major risk of fatal injury from asbestos without giving him adequate protection or warning”. 

He also claims that he was not provided with breathing apparatus, or ventilation, failing to damp down dry asbestos, “exposing him to a danger or trap and foreseeable risk of injury”. 

An MHCLG spokesperson said: “It would be inappropriate for the department to comment on this legal case as it is ongoing.” 

Mr Williams first suffered symptoms of mesothelioma in July 2020, and the diagnosis was confirmed in September last year. 

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