Page last updated at 14:13 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 15:13 UK

Compensation for asbestos death

The widow of a painter and decorator who died from asbestos-related cancer has won compensation at the High Court.

Sheila Kerrison, of Ranworth Close, Belton, Great Yarmouth, nursed husband Alexander Kerrison in the months before his death in 2005 at the age of 58.

The court heard that while employed by WP Wiseman and Son on decorating jobs he was exposed to asbestos.

Mr Kerrison's estate was awarded 60,000 from his employer for the suffering caused by the cancer.

WP Wiseman will also pay further sums to his family for their "loss of dependency" on Mr Kerrison. The total payout is likely to run well into six figures.

Judge Richard Seymour QC made the awards for the "pain and suffering" Mr Kerrison endured after being diagnosed with Mesothelioma, an incurable cancer of the lining of the lungs.

'Fit and active'

It is almost always related to the inhalation of asbestos.

The court heard Mr Kerrison began working for WP Wiseman & Son Ltd during the 1970s and during his employment was exposed to asbestos while working on decorating jobs.

The court heard that Mr Kerrison, described as a hands on husband and father, had always been "fit and active", but in early 2004 was diagnosed with Mesothelioma.

In a witness statement taken before his death, Mr Kerrison - who had left school at 15 - said he was "shocked" by the diagnosis, and the disease had left him severely depressed.

He underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but died in hospital at the end of May 2005.

Judge Seymour rejected arguments on behalf of WP Wiseman that Mr Kerrison should be held partially responsible because he could have been exposed to asbestos during a five-year period between 1966 and 1971 when he was self-employed.

The judge said there was "scant" evidence that Mr Kerrison would have come into contact with asbestos during that time, and declined to reduce his award accordingly.


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