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Home   Sittingbourne   News   Article

Widow wins six-figure payout over asbestos death of Sittingbourne husband and former Swale council decorator Edward Jacobs

19 March 2014
by Hayley Robinson

Edward 'Ted' Jacobs died of mesothelioma aged 77 in November 2011 – less than a month after finding out he had the industrial disease.

The grandfather-of-six worked for Swale District Council and then Swale Borough Council as a painter and decorator between 1976 and 1990.

Edward Jacobs died from an asbestos-related illness

Edward Jacobs died from an asbestos-related illness

Before his death, Mr Jacobs - of Albany Road, Sittingbourne - said he remembered working with guttering and Artex, which contained the deadly substance, at various properties throughout the area including schools, hospitals and council houses.

In the final years of his employment, Mr Jacobs refused to work with guttering containing the hidden killer as he was concerned about the impact it could have on his health after hearing about the risks.

But it was too late, as the damage had already been done.

His wife Anita launched a legal battle to find out more about what happened to her husband with help from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors.

The firm has secured a settlement of £128,575 from the local authority's former insurers.

Grandfather Edward Jacobs with his wife Anita before he fell ill

Grandfather Edward Jacobs with his wife Anita before he fell ill

The 70-year-old, who now lives in Norfolk, said: "Ted started struggling with breathing difficulties and after having some scans was sent for a biopsy.

"He was told he had mesothelioma and less than a month later he died.

"I remember he disliked working with the asbestos gutters. He had to clean them and scrape away debris that was inside..." - Anita Jacobs

"We knew he wouldn't have very long left, but it was devastating when he passed away so soon.

"We didn't have any time to come to terms with his illness.

"I remember he disliked working with the asbestos gutters. He had to clean them and scrape away debris that was inside.

"By the end of his time at the council, he had heard about the dangers of asbestos so refused to work on asbestos gutters any longer. It's just so sad that it was too late."

Alice Humphreys, who represented Mrs Jacobs, said: "At the time of Ted's employment, employers were well aware of the dangers of asbestos, and by the end of his career so was he, but a failure to provide him with proper protective equipment had fatal consequences."

Swale council's head office, Swale House

Swale council's head office, Swale House

Cllr Ted Wilcox, cabinet member for performance and staffing, said: "Our thoughts and sympathy remain with the family.

"We can confirm we have agreed a settlement regarding exposure to asbestos-based materials.

"This concerns employment from 1974 until 1990, nearly 24 years ago.

"Building materials containing asbestos became increasingly popular in the early 1900s and were most widely used between the 1960s and 1980s in a range of materials including roofing, floor tiles and insulating boards.

"We now have very strict procedures and training in place for council staff and partner agencies."


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