I poisoned my wife with asbestos by hugging her
Electrician sues Vauxhall for £1million over death
AN ELECTRICIAN who says he unwittingly poisoned his wife with deadly asbestos dust while they hugged and kissed as a young couple is suing for £1million over her death.
John Carey said wife Lydia breathed in asbestos fibres left on him from his job at Vauxhall Motors in Bedfordshire in the 1970s.
He escaped unharmed, but Mrs Carey died last week aged 60 after losing her fight against mesothelioma, an asbestos-linked cancer, the High Court heard.
Deadly fibres were transmitted from husband to wife during the habitual rituals of daily life, said Mr Carey’s barrister, John-Paul Swoboda.
‘All through the period she and John Carey would hug and kiss upon seeing one another,’ he told Judge Karen Walden-Smith. ‘As well as the asbes- ‘My world’: John Carey with Lydia tos on his clothes, Mr Carey had a full head of hair, a moustache and sideburns in which asbestos dust would be trapped until liberated by movement from – say – a hug.’
Mr Carey, 60, from Toddington, is now claiming damages from Vauxhall,
at whose Luton and dunstable sites he worked between 1973 and 1979.
the car giant is fighting the case, denying that Mr carey was exposed to hazardous amounts of asbestos while working for them or that he would have ‘disturbed asbestos in the fabric of the building’.
Mr swoboda told the court fibres lay dormant in Mrs carey’s body for 40 years before triggering the cancer that killed her. she was diagnosed in october 2017 with mesothelioma in her lungs, which is incurable.
vauxhall says all asbestos-related work at the plants was carried out by specialist external contractors and it operated an overalls washing scheme for its employees.
But Mr swoboda said the company had charged extra for the laundry service, and insisted that Mr carey worked in close proximity to asbestos dust. at times he had to ‘ walk through, kneel or lie on asbestos dust and debris on the floor to carry out his work’, the barrister claimed, and would sweep asbestos dust and debris from the floor using a dustpan and brush.
Mr swoboda said Mrs carey would ‘beat the dust’ from his work clothes before putting them in the wash.
But vauxhall’s Qc, paul Bleasdale, said any exposure Mr carey had when working for vauxhall would have been ‘very occasional if not minimal’. he claimed Mrs carey may have been exposed at other times during her husband’s working life or by contact with her father, who also worked with asbestos during her childhood.
Mr carey said outside court that his unwitting exposure of his wife to asbestos is ‘the cross I have to bear’. ‘she was my world, she meant everything to me,’ he added.
Judge Walden-smith reserved her ruling for a later date.
‘Beat the dust from his clothes’