Handyman’s widow sues Marquess of Bath for £200,000
Asbestos work ‘led to death’
THE Marquess of Bath is being sued for £200,000 over the death of a handyman employed by his family at his Longleat estate in the 1960s.
Allan Keyse died due to alleged exposure to asbestos in the nine years up to 1970 when he worked at the 10,000-acre estate, home to Longleat Safari Park.
He was working at the time for Henry Thynne, the 6th Marquess of Bath, and his son Alexander. But the current and 8th Marquess, Ceawlin Thynn, 48, would be responsible as their successor in title for paying compensation if it is proved that the exposure occurred at Longleat.
In papers filed at the High Court, lawyers for Mr Keyse’s widow Sally say he died aged 84 in 2019 from mesothelioma, a cancer affecting the lining of the lungs often linked to asbestos exposure.
They claim he was instructed to demolish a number of outbuildings with asbestos cement roofs while working at the Wiltshire estate and was ‘never warned or trained about the dangers of working with asbestos’.
The papers add: ‘ He was never provided with, nor did he wear, any form of respiratory protection when he was at risk of inhaling asbestos dust.’
Mrs Keyse’s lawyers claim that this was negligent and contrary to regulations. The 6th Marquess died in 1992. He was succeeded by his son Alexander, whose womanising – and string of ‘wifelets’ – led to him acquiring the nickname the ‘Loins of Longleat’.
Ceawlin, whose model wife Emma appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2019, inherited the title in 2020 after his father Alexander’s death aged 87.
Mrs Keyse is also suing another of her husband’s former employers, claiming he was exposed to asbestos during his time working for them as a storeman in the 1970s and 1980s. The court papers highlight an occasion at Longleat when Mr Keyse spent two to three days sawing and drilling asbestos cement sheets to make a new barn roof, causing ‘significant amounts’ of asbestos dust to settle on him.
Father of one Mr Keyse ‘simply smashed’ the outbuildings down ‘without any precaution and this covered him in dust, including asbestos dust and debris’, the papers say. ‘He had to load up the broken up sheets and resultant debris into a lorry by shovelling up the smaller pieces and manhandling the larger pieces before then sweeping up the very small pieces and dust.’
The handyman was involved in demolishing outbuildings and asbestos roofs ‘on a fairly frequent basis’ at Longleat, Mrs Keyse’s lawyers add.
‘The estate was very large and as well as the main house and gardens included a number of old cottages, old buildings and barns which contained various asbestoscontaining materials, including and in particular asbestos corrugated roofs, and it was the deceased’s job to refurbish, renovate and maintain these premises,’ the legal papers say.
Mrs Keyse’s lawyers said that at the 2019 inquest into her husband’s death, the coroner ruled it likely that it had been caused by occupational asbestos exposure.
Mrs Keyse, 81, from Westbury, Wiltshire, who was married to her husband for 46 years, said in a witness appeal in 2020 on her lawyers’ website: ‘ I am desperate for answers and to understand the precise nature of Allan’s exposure to asbestos.
‘We as a family deserve to know whether more could have been done to prevent this.’
It is understood that the Marquess will be defending the claim and that a defence will be filed at court shortly.
‘Desperate for answers’