Payout for widow after husband's death

A WIDOW has secured £126,000 damages after her husband died from a lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos at power stations.James Crowter, 71, from Leiston, came into contact with the deadly substance when working at power stations at Sizewell on the Suffolk coast and Brighton more than 20 years ago.

By Danielle Nuttall

A WIDOW has secured £126,000 damages after her husband died from a lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos at power stations.

James Crowter, 71, from Leiston, came into contact with the deadly substance when working at power stations at Sizewell on the Suffolk coast and Brighton more than 20 years ago.

Last night, after it was confirmed his widow Dorothy had received the compensation, it was warned many more cases would be emerging in the coming years.

Mrs Crowter's solicitor Tim Humpage said: “Regrettably, Mrs Crowter is not alone in losing her husband to this debilitating and deadly disease.”

Mr Crowter was an employee of the former power firm Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) and worked at the power stations before retiring in the mid-1980s.

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He was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a tumour of the lung lining caused by ingestion of asbestos particles, in May 2003 and died five months later.

Mr Humpage said: “Mesothelioma has a gestation period of around 30 to 40 years after exposure to particles, which after breathing in remain in the lungs permanently.

“As a result of workers' exposure to asbestos over recent decades, it is widely predicted that the number of cases will continue to rise before peaking in around 2020.

“In the Ipswich area, there were many workers at Sizewell and the former Ipswich power station who may have come into contact with asbestos dust in the course of their work.”Mrs Crowter, 72, from Leiston, was awarded £126,000 compensation from the firm, which has now broken up into separate companies.

Mr Humpage, of Ipswich-based Gotelee & Goldsmith, said last night: “In cases such as this, it is of some comfort for the victim to know that his family will be financially secure after his death, and compensation payments of this order are common in similar cases.

“As Mrs Crowter found, however, when pursuing a claim for compensation it is crucial for the injured party to seek advice and make a statement themselves.

“Because of the rapid development of the disease, this means talking to a solicitor as soon as possible after diagnosis.

“Without the injured party's own evidence, it can be difficult to be certain about events that took place some 30 years previously and to obtain the compensation they and their family are entitled to.”

Mesothelioma is an incurable condition and commonly leads to death within six to 24 months of diagnosis.

Mr and Mrs Crowter first sought legal advice a month after Mr Crowter's diagnosis and contacted the Law Society's Accident Line scheme.

They were referred to Gotelee & Goldsmith, and Mr Humpage agreed to pursue a claim and negotiated a compensation payout with CEGB, who accepted liability for exposure to asbestos.

An inquest into Mr Crowter's death was held last November and ruled that he died because of an industrial disease.

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