Family of Glasgow judo champion killed by asbestos appeal for help

Relatives of a former Judo champion have appealed for help after he died from mesothelioma, the Glasgow Evening Times has reported.

Pat Cusack was a driving force behind Scotland’s judo successes, helping to coach teams at the London Olympics and ahead of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games.

But just days after the sporting spectacular started in 2014, Pat, 75, passed away.

His family are now hoping to mount a legal challenge against his former employers Atholl Houses Ltd and the Lord Advocate, who represents the Scottish Government which is responsible for the former Scottish Special Housing Association.

Liability for Atholl Houses has been passed to Zurich insurance, while the Scottish Government and the Lord Advocate represents the SSHA.

Before the Pollok man developed a love of judo, he trained as a joiner and worked on building houses in Castlemilk as part of the local authority housing scheme between 1955 until 1960.

He served his National Service as a Physical Training instructor, before returning to work with Atholl Houses for about six months in 1962.

Father-of-three Pat also worked in a housing scheme in Johnstone, and was employed as a joiner by Scottish Special Housing Association in 1963/64. During that time he worked in the construction of homes in Clydebank and Paisley Road in Glasgow.

It was during his work with both Atholl Houses and the Scottish Special Housing Association that he believed he had been exposed to asbestos dust, which caused his mesothelioma decades later.

His three children, seven brothers and grief-stricken wife Margaret are now pursuing legal challenges against the employers and have appealed to anyone who remembers working with Pat to get in touch.

Margaret, 74, said:

“Pat was such a fit wee man, and to see what happened to him was just heartbreaking. He was hoping to go to the Commonwealth Games, he had his VIP tickets for the judo and he just couldn’t as he was so unwell.

“He lost so much weight, he couldn’t do a lot. It just makes you so angry that this could have been prevented. He was one of eight children, and the other seven are all still alive.

We all just miss him so much and want justice for Pat. I don’t care about money, I just want justice for my husband. He deserves that.”

The family’s solicitor Nicola Macara, of Thompsons, said:

“If there are any former colleagues of Patrick’s who remember working with him during his time helping construct houses in the Castlemilk area its very important they get in touch with me.

The scourge of asbestos has affected so many families like the Cusacks and given the passage of time we sometime needs the help of former work mates to get justice.

Anyone who remembers Patrick should call my office on 0141 221 8840 and ask to speak with me. Mr Cusack’s family would be extremely grateful for any help.”

A spokesman for Zurich Insurance said:

“We have a lot of experience in dealing with the devastating consequences working with asbestos can bring – and have a huge amount of sympathy for Mr Cusack’s family.

As is often the case with claims relating to historic working conditions, this is very complex and is going to trial next month. Given where we are in the process, it’s just not appropriate to make any comments relating to the specifics here.”