European Asbestos Forum

On 12th October 1984, the Grand Hotel in Brighton was bombed. Five people died and 39 were injured. Now, 31 years on, the attack has claimed another victim.

Jonathan Woods was a Metropolitan Police Detective when the bomb, planted by Patrick Magee of the IRA, ripped through the hotel. He was one of the first people to attend the scene in the aftermath of the attack and formed a team of officers who searched through the building’s debris for missing people.

What he didn’t know at the time, was that this work would go on to kill him, as hidden amongst the rubble was the silent killer, asbestos.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which was widely used in the construction industry in the UK due to its insulating and fireproofing properties. It was seen as a wonder product until it was found to cause a number of terrible conditions and eventually the use of asbestos was banned in the UK in 1999. There is an average latency period of between 10 and 50 years from exposure to asbestos and the development of symptoms from  asbestos related conditions.

Asbestos is known to cause:

  • Pleural plaques

These are areas of scar tissue on the membrane of the lungs. Whilst most people with pleural plaques do not suffer with breathing problems, occasionally some do suffer a restrictive lung problem and in these cases only, compensation could be awarded for pleural plaques.

  • Pleural thickening

This is scarring on the lungs which causes the tissue to harden, leaving sufferers feeling breathless. Sufferers of pleural thickening are able to claim compensation.

  • Asbestosis

Caused by heavy exposure to asbestos, asbestosis is scarring across the lungs, preventing them from expanding as they should. This causes sufferers to experience chest pain, persistent coughing and a host of other symptoms. Compensation can be claimed for asbestosis.

  • Mesothelioma

This is an aggressive cancer which affects the body’s membranes and is resistant to treatment. Diagnosis is often difficult and prognosis is poor, with the average life expectancy after diagnosis being just 18 months.

Mr Woods retired from the police force in 2002 and moved to France with his wife to enjoy his retirement when he was given the devastating diagnosis of mesothelioma. It is sadly a story we hear too often and we regularly deal with claims for people who no longer live in the UK. Mr Woods sadly passed away in December of 2015.

Before he passed, Mr Woods began a civil, mesothelioma claim against the Metropolitan Police and Sussex Police, claiming he was not given sufficient protection when working at the bomb site. It is understood his family are continuing with their pursuit of accountability and ultimately for mesothelioma compensation.

If you require assistance in pursuing a mesothelioma claim please contact us today on our freephone number 0800 038 6767. Alternatively, head over to the ‘Contact Us’ page, complete the form and we will be in touch.

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