Inquest hears Honiton woman was suing firm at the time of her death

PUBLISHED: 11:30 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:32 20 November 2017

County Hall in Exeter.

County Hall in Exeter.

Archant

Jennifer Roberts, aged 67, from Plymtree near Honiton, was making a claim for damages against the mining equipment firm she worked for since she left school at 16.

A mother who died from being exposed to asbestos at a mining equipment factory was suing the firm at the time of her death.

Jennifer Roberts, aged 67, from Plymtree, near Honiton, was making a claim for damages against the mining equipment firm she worked for since she left school at 16.

Before her death in April this year she made a statement that she worked for the Dowty company from 1966 working as a PA in the clerical department at their Tewkesbury plant in Gloucestershire.

The Exeter inquest heard she worked in two old units built in the 1940s and ‘50s which had asbestos fitted in the roofs and walls.

The married mum was a PA to the transport manager and walked through the factory floor up to 12 times a day without wearing any protective clothing.

She said the units were often having maintenance work carried out while the 20 staff had to keep working.

The ceilings and walls were repaired and holes drilled into walls for rewiring – and they all contained asbestos.

She said during ‘these alterations potentially harmful fibres and dust’ were released but ‘we were never made aware of the danger of asbestos exposure’ and they were not told to stop working.

A former colleague David Handy said no protective clothing was worn and staff were in standard overalls as the dangers were not known until later years.

Mrs Roberts’ husband Roger told the hearing that his wife worked in an area ‘which contained asbestos in the roof, pipe lagging and partition walls’.

The assistant coroner Luisa Nicholson was told that in June 2016 Mrs Roberts started to suffer back pain, and within months was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. She died in April this year.

The coroner said:”I am satisfied during the course of her working life between 1966 and 1975 he was probably exposed to asbestos while working as a PA in a mining company and consequently developed malignant mesothelioma from asbestos fibres.”

She concluded the retired administrator died from an industrial disease.

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