Kentish Express Ashford & District
Rail worker’s widow gets settlement
Father-of-three worked at Chart Leacon site
A widow has won a payout after solicitors proved her husband’s cancer was caused by handling asbestos at his former job.
Scott Morrison worked at railway depots - including Chart Leacon in Ashford - from 1989 to 2017, before passing away at the premature age of 58 in 2018.
His death came only two months after being diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer caused by inhaled asbestos fibres, which forms in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart.
Becoming ill in September 2018, the father-of-three began regularly attending hospital for chest drains before the cancer diagnosis.
He died before he could undergo chemotherapy, and the speed of his deterioration prompted his widow Diane Morrison to pursue compensation from his previous employer - Chart Leacon’s then-owner British Rail.
Due to his death, Diane’s legal team - asbestos specialists from law firm Hodge Jones & Allen (HJA) - were unable to obtain evidence from Scott himself in order to identify the source of his asbestos exposure.
It was only thanks to Scott’s former colleagues providing crucial evidence that they were finally able to get justice for Diane and her family over Scott’s premature death.
They revealed that during his time at the rail depot, he regularly handled old train parts containing asbestos - including brake blocks, friction discs and horn pads - and emptied skips full of discarded parts containing asbestos.
Also asbestos dust fell from the buildings on the Chart Leacon site, which is currently being demolished to make way for new rail sidings.
HJA managed to reach a settlement with British Rail, recovering some of the end-of-life hospice costs that Diane had paid for Scott’s care.
Diane said: “Scott was a wonderful husband, and a loving father, and he was taken from us far too early.
“He had so many plans for his retirement, which was still a fair few years off, that we’ll never get to do together.”
She also encouraged more people to go through the legal process, saying: “Scott’s deterioration from his diagnosis was so quick that he never got to show what an unsafe environment his previous employers had him working in.
“However, thanks to the team at HJA, who worked so hard for us during this process, we have, at the very least, got some justice for Scott, and we’d urge anyone who thinks they might have had exposure to asbestos to come forward now.”
Isobel Lovett, a partner at HJA, said: “Scott’s case was quite challenging as he had already passed away before we were instructed. Unfortunately, the case demonstrates just how awful the lasting effects of asbestos exposure can be.
“While we were unable to get Scott’s testimony, which is normally a key part of the process, working with Diane and other witnesses - including Scott’s former colleagues - we were able to get the evidence we needed.
“While the compensation won’t bring Scott back, it will help his family at this difficult time.
“No one should have to run the risk of developing a fatal illness as a result of doing their job, and we want to make sure that other sufferers know that we are here to ensure that they get the justice they rightly deserve.”
‘He had many plans for his retirement, which was still a fair few years off, that we’ll never get to do together - he was a wonderful husband...’