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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 June, 2005, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
Widow wins asbestos compensation
Asbestos warning sign
Onset of disease can be delayed by up to 40 years
A widow has won 140,000 compensation in an out-of-court settlement after her husband died from exposure to asbestos dust while working for a council.

Robert Brown, who had worked as a plasterer for Corby Borough Council in Northamptonshire for 18 years, died aged 57 in May 2001.

He died from the incurable asbestos-derived disease mesothelioma.

The council denied liability, but on Tuesday agreed to pay the compensation to Mr Brown's widow, Catherine.

We miss him terribly and I am glad this legal case is now over
Catherine Brown, wife of asbestos victim Robert Brown
The case was brought by the union Community on Mrs Brown's behalf.

The union claimed that Corby council had been negligent in failing to ensure Mr Brown worked in a safe environment.

Following the award, Mrs Brown said: "This compensation will help, but we would rather have Robert still with us.

"He died because he did a job he enjoyed, but he didn't realise it was a dangerous.

"We miss him terribly and I am glad this legal case is now over."

Community deputy general secretary Paul Gates said: "Robert Brown suffered terribly and died because of the risks his job exposed him to.

'Sad case'

"No worker should have been exposed to asbestos in the way he was, but we fear that many were."

Corby Borough Council chief executive Chris Mallender said: "This is a very sad and unfortunate case and I wish to express the council's deepest sympathies to Mr Brown's widow and family.

"The council now has in place very rigorous practices to identify and deal with asbestos.

"We have undertaken a survey of all council properties and houses and are using specialist asbestos contractors to secure its safe removal as part of an ongoing programme."

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