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Family wins payout after Rickmansworth grandfather Michael Wareham's asbestos death
The family of a Rickmansworth grandfather who died of asbestos-related cancer said they are "relieved" that they have "secured justice for him" after receiving a five-figure settlement from a Watford company he worked for in the 1950s.
Michael Wareham died at the age of 73, in 2010, of mesothelioma, a cancer in the lining of the lungs caused by inhaling deadly asbestos dust.
An old newspaper advert, unearthed by the family’s lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, confirmed that the material was used by Watford Timber Co Ltd, who employed Mr Wareham in the 1950s and 1960s.
The grandfather-of-eight used to work for the Watford company as a joiner and machinist cutting asbestos sheets.
Mr Wareham’s family continued to fight on after his death and in October last year they settled the case.
Mr Wareham’s son, Carl, said the family was left "heartbroken" after being told of his father’s diagnoses back in 2009.
The 51-year-old said: "We were completely heartbroken when dad received his diagnosis. He was a very active man who was massively into sport until he became so ill. It was so difficult to watch him struggle in the months before his death. He always lived life to the full and he became a shadow of his former self.
"He was such a good father and grandfather and now the legal battle is over, we feel that we can start to come to terms with his death."
He spoke of the relief that the family feels now that justice has been "secured".
He added: "We are so pleased and relieved that we have now honoured my dad’s wishes and secured justice for him. The team at Irwin Mitchell left no stone unturned for my dad and we are grateful that the claim has concluded."
Mr Wareham developed breathlessness in April 2009 and two months later he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
After a 13-month battle with the disease he died. The coroner recorded that the death was caused by malignant mesothelioma.
Investigations undertaken by Irwin Mitchell lawyers showed that an advert placed in a 1953 West Herts and Watford Observer showed that Watford Timber Co Ltd did stock asbestos.
Shaheen Mosquera, an asbestos expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office, who represented the family, said: "We are pleased to have secured justice for this family following a long fought battle with the company where Mr Wareham worked.
"The evidence which came to light proved that Mr Wareham had been exposed to the deadly dust during his employment and that there was no valid defence.
"Mesothelioma is an aggressive disease for which there is sadly no cure. It devastates families yet companies have been aware of the dangers since the 1950s and 60s so there is no excuse for not warning employees or protecting them."
Watford Timber Co Ltd’s insurance company, RSA, dealt with the settlement.
RSA spokesman Deepa Bose said: “While these are very sad claims to deal with, we are pleased to have agreed a settlement with Mr Wareham's family.”