Widow seeks justice after asbestos death

Tom and Diane Poole SUS-170523-091919001
Tom and Diane Poole SUS-170523-091919001

The widow of an Eastbourne man who died from a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos is hoping people may be witnesses to the working conditions that she believes killed him.

Diane Poole says her husband Tom was probably affected by asbestos while helping to build the Glen Park estate, which included Malthouse Road, Glen Crescent and Denny’s Close, in Selsey in the 1970s.

Mr Poole, originally from Yorkshire, was a qualified carpenter and worked fitting soffits to the properties. Each soffit was made from asbestos sheeting, which Tom and a team of carpenters would cut to size and fit.

Solicitors representing Mrs Poole say this meant the men would often work all day surrounded by what is now known to be fatal dust without masks or other protection, probably for several years.

Before he died, Mr Poole said in a statement he would try to cut the soffits outside but if it was raining, they would do it inside and also said even if he wasn’t working on soffits himself, he would usually be working near someone who was.

In addition, he said he and his workmates had to cut Big Six corrugated asbestos sheeting used to insulate the garage roofs, using handsaws and drills.

Mr Poole said he and his colleagues were never warned about the possible risks to their health from the asbestos materials they were using.

Asbestos was regularly used as fire-retardant insulation in homes, schools and hospitals throughout the UK until the serious danger of the material was made public in the mid-1980s.

Mr Poole was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May 2012 and died a year later. He was 80. An inquest ruled he had died from the industrial disease.

Tragically, Tom and Diane lost their son, Chris, the year before when he was murdered outside the Premiere shop at the Hydneye while walking his dogs.

Diane, who was brought up on a farm in Eastbourne, met Mr Poole in the early 1960s when she was out riding near where he worked. They married 18 months later and had two sons. The family lived in Selsey for nearly 10 years before moving back to Eastbourne.

Diane described her husband as a “lovely dad, a lovely husband who is terribly missed”.

“He took such pride in his work, always with the patience to get it exactly right. Somehow it makes it even worse that a job he loved made him ill.”

Shaheen Mosquera, a lawyer from Fieldfisher, is working on a compensation claim for Diane.

“If anyone has any information about working conditions during the building of the Glen Park estate, I would be grateful to hear from them,” said Shaeen, who can be contacted at Shaheen.mosquera@fieldfisher.com or on 0207 861 4393