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Family of Swansea man appeal for witnesses following asbestos death ahead of asbestos ban anniversary

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As the UK marks the 23rd anniversary of the ban on the use and sale of asbestos (Thursday 24 November), the family of a contractor from Fforestfach who died from mesothelioma – an asbestos-related cancer – are appealing to former colleagues to help them with a claim for compensation.

Dennis McCarthy died in 2020 at the age of 76 – with his family only finding out he was suffering with the asbestos disease after his death.

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He worked for several building contractors in the Swansea area from the late 1970s to early 1990s. As part of his duties, his family believe that he may have come into contact with materials contaminated with asbestos, which may have led to his terminal cancer diagnosis.

In light of this, Mr McCarthy’s family is seeking answers as to where and when he came into contact with the asbestos. His passing has had a devastating impact on his loved ones, especially his three children.

Mr McCarthy’s daughter, Helen, said: “Dad was unaware of his condition and spent many weeks in hospital. He was sent home with antibiotics and six days later was taken back into hospital and never came out, as he died on the ward.

“The family was left totally devastated and heartbroken as we did not know dad’s condition was life-threatening. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic we couldn’t say goodbye, meaning dad passed away on his own, which is heart-wrenching.”

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that develops in the lining of the body’s organs – typically the lungs – which is usually linked to asbestos exposure. It can often take decades for symptoms to develop after exposure.

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The use of asbestos was banned in the UK on 24 November 1999 but is still present in 1.5 million of public buildings in the UK. A total of 2,544 mesothelioma deaths were recorded in Great Britain in 2020, with mesothelioma death rates in Wales increasing more rapidly over the period than for Great Britain as a whole.

The family has turned to J.M. Parsons and Co Solicitors, which is owned by Thompsons Solicitors, for support with a compensation claim. Thompsons paved the way for asbestos litigation in the UK and has been involved countless major fights against the asbestos insurance industry.

Emily Thornton, the lawyer supporting the family, said: “We would be grateful to hear from anyone who remembers working alongside Dennis during their working life, particularly where they recall the working environment containing asbestos.

“Such individuals will be invaluable to Mr McCarthy’s family, as they may be able to add important information that will assist us in building a civil claim on their behalf.

“We hope that we will then be able to help Mr McCarthy’s family to answer questions about the conditions that he worked in during the course of his working life.”

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Anyone with information should contact Emily Thornton at J.M. Parsons and Co Solicitors on 01554779940, or via email at emilythornton@thompsons.law.co.uk.

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