I poi­soned my wife with as­bestos by hug­ging her

Elec­tri­cian sues Vaux­hall for £1million over death

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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’

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