Widow vows to fight for justice after husband died from asbestos exposure

Sizewell A and B

Sizewell A and B - Credit: Archant

The widow of a former nuclear power station welder is vowing to continue her husband’s fight for justice after he died following asbestos exposure.

Sizewell A - clearing the site of decommissioned nuclear plant is now put at £927m

Sizewell A - clearing the site of decommissioned nuclear plant is now put at £927m - Credit: Archant

David Butler of Caister, died in September last year aged 72 after a short battle with mesothelioma, a terminal cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Now his widow appealing to his former colleagues for help in launching group legal action.

Mr Butler believed he was exposed to the material while working at the Sizewell A power station in Suffolk, in 1963 and 1964.

He was diagnosed with mesothelioma a matter of months before his death after suffering with breathlessness and pain in his chest. Mrs Jackie Butler said her husband’s diagnosis was a complete shock.

“He had been suffering some pain in his chest and was struggling to walk any great distance,” she said, adding: “But we never expected him to be suffering with such a terrible disease.

“The disease hit him really hard and it was terrible to see him in so much pain and unable to enjoy the long walks we used to take together.

“David sought legal advice after finding out the disease may have been caused by his exposure to asbestos at work and I am determined to continue the fight for him and make sure that those responsible for his exposure are held to account in some way.”

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Before his death, Mr Butler instructed lawyers at legal firm Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where he came into contact with the substance during his working life

He was involved in the installation of turbines at the nuclear plant during its construction. He told his legal team that he would often work alongside other tradesmen, such as laggers, who would mix asbestos dust into a paste and apply it to the pipework around the facility.

He recalled this work created a very dirty and dusty environment for other workers.

Mr Butler told his legal team he was never provided with any protective equipment and he was not warned of the health risks associated with exposure to asbestos dust and fibres.

Rosemary Giles, a partner and expert asbestos-related disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Cambridge office, who is representing Mrs Butler, said: “Asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance if inhaled or ingested and it can cause a range of respiratory illnesses, including mesothelioma.

“Currently, more than 2,500 people die from mesothelioma in UK every year, with many of them exposed to asbestos decades ago. The dangers of asbestos have been well documented for some time but sadly we see many cases where employers did not do enough to protect their workers from the risks the material poses.

“We are now investigating David’s asbestos exposure, which ultimately led to the development of mesothelioma and his tragic death. We would like to hear from anyone who worked alongside him during the construction of the Sizewell A Power Station in the 1960s in the hope we can provide Jackie with some of the answers she is looking for.

Anyone who worked alongside David at Sizewell A Power Station in the mid 1960s or those with information about working conditions at the facility should contact Rosemary Giles on 01223 791810 or email Rosemary.Giles@IrwinMitchell.com