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Tadley man 'made of strong stuff' died from industrial disease

Death due to asbestos

Charlotte Booth

Charlotte Booth

charlotte.booth@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886637

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A TADLEY man died of a lung condition caused by working with asbestos in the 1970s, an inquest heard.

Roger Tarrant Case, 69, died in the Royal Berkshire Hospital of mesothelioma on August 13, two-and-a-half years after he was given five months to live.

His widow Heather Case, 71, told the coroner: “Having watched him for two-and-a-half years after they had given him five months to live was awful.

“That’s one reason that I’m here today.

“If he hadn’t been so bloody- minded and stubborn, he wouldn’t have lasted as long.”

Senior coroner Heidi Conner said: “He must have been made of strong stuff to last four times longer than he was given.”

The inquest was held at Reading Coroners Court on Monday, September 17, and the coroner ruled death was caused by industrial disease associated with Mr Case’s working life. 

Mr Case worked for a construction company in Henley in the 1970s, when he was a teenager.

“He wrote a report before he died describing his working environment, which was read out at the inquest.  

It stated: “Asbestos was pulled down and cut up as part of the demolition process.

“I wasn’t warned or provided with a mask. I would return home covered in dust.

“I was working in close proximity. Asbestos was in a lot of our materials in the building.”

Asbestos is a natural fibre widely used in construction to insulate and fireproof buildings. 

It was banned in 1999.

Breathing in asbestos dust can cause mesothelioma, a form of lung cancer that affects the cells that form a membrane around the lungs.

It can take between 30 and 40 years to develop following contact with asbestos and results in shortness of breath, coughing, chest pains and a build-up of fluid in the lining of the lungs.

In 2016, Mr Case underwent surgery, when asbestos was discovered in his lungs, leaving little doubt as to the cause of his illness. 

Mrs Case said: “There are so many men who are coming on who are not yet 60 years who are carrying it.

“It takes 30 to 40 years to come to light. 

“When he was given five months to live he was not going to take that.

“No-one that he went to the clinic with is still alive.

“He never complained about pain and he never said ‘Why me?’

“His main objective in life was to hand out to others the care they needed.

“During that time he managed to get three holidays in and he even went to work two days before he died to sort his office out.” 

Mr and Mrs Case had filed a claim for damages which was successful, but the process took the final two-and-a-half years of Mr Case’s life, even though asbestos was discovered following surgery in 2016.

Mrs Case said: “The general behaviour of solicitors is absolutely disgusting.

“It was a successful claim in that blame was attributed, but having said that, the way that it was handled was terrible.”

The coroner ruled that Mr Case’s death was an industrial disease associated with his place of work.  

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