Norfolk widow in compensation battle

A Norfolk widow has joined calls for the Government to break down barriers currently stopping some asbestos victims and their families obtaining compensation.

A Norfolk widow has joined calls for the Government to break down barriers currently stopping some asbestos victims and their families obtaining compensation.

Solicitors have advised Caroline Squires, of Wacton, near Long Stratton, that she could be entitled to a six figure payout following the death of her husband Almer Squires from the asbestos related cancer mesothelioma.

Due to problems tracking down the insurers of Mr Squires' former employers, where he was exposed to asbestos in the 1960s, Mrs Squires is unable to claim a penny.

Now the 65-year-old has voiced her support for an Employers' Liability Insurance Bureau (ELIB) which would act as a last resort fund to compensate injured workers where the employer has ceased trading and the insurer cannot be found. Currently 10pc of asbestos victims fall into this black hole.

Mrs Squires, who moved to Norfolk 11 years ago, said: 'It was important to my husband to claim compensation. He was worried about providing for his family following his death.

'It is difficult to believe that there are no records of who the insurers were. The quicker an ELIB is put in place the better, not just for me but for all victims of asbestos disease.'

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Mr Squires died aged 66 in October 2008 after undergoing surgery and radiotherapy to treat mesothelioma - a cancer which commonly affects the lungs and is linked to asbestos exposure.

Mr Squires, who also left behind two children and four grandchildren, was in contact with the dangerous insulting material while working as a management trainee for a heating company in Guildford between 1962 and 1964. The firm has since ceased trading.

However he showed no signs of illness until Valentine's Day 2008 when he suddenly experienced chest pains. It took doctors two months to come to a diagnosis by which time nothing could be done to save his life.

Before his death Mr Squires instructed specialist lawyers Thompsons Solicitors, in Nottingham, to pursue a compensation claim.

However after checks with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the help of an insurance archaeologist no trace of the insurers was found.

Asbestos claims solicitor Neil Baines, of Thompsons, said: 'Asbestos victims don't have time for the ABI to sort itself out. There should be an ELIB funded by a levy on the insurance industry which mirrors the right to full compensation that is available to people injured or killed by uninsured drivers.'

Mrs Squires will now be contacting her MP for further help. The Evening News has been battling for years for the rights of people suffering from asbestos-related diseases as part of its Dust of Death campaign.


There are about 2,300 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed each year.

About 70 to 80pc of those with the disease have been exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives.

Asbestos, a heat and fire resistant insulting material, is made of tiny fibres which can irritate the lining of the lungs when inhaled and lead to the growth of cancer.

Typically mesothelioma does not develop until about 30 or 40 years after asbestos exposure.

This time lag means the number of recorded deaths has increased from 153 in 1968 to 2,156 in 2007.

In Norfolk, the number of deaths from mesothelioma has increased from 28 between 1981 and 1985, to 141 between 2001 and 2005.

The number is not expected to peak until 2038.