Fitter launches compensation claim over asbestos-related cancer

A maintenance fitter suffering from asbestos-related cancer has taken legal action against his former employers.

David Bennett, who is now retired and lives in Croxdale, County Durham, was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March 2016 – a cancer of the lung’s linings usually caused by exposure to asbestos.

The 63-year-old instructed lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate how and where he was exposed to asbestos dust.

Now his legal team have issued formal court proceedings against his former employers after they refused to admit liability for his illness.

David is appealing for former colleagues who worked with him during 1969 and 1975, at Smart and Brown (Engineers) Limited and Smart and Brown Lighting Limited, which were subsidiaries of Thorn Domestic Appliances Ltd, a company which was subsequently sold to Electrolux PLC.

The company was a major employer in the Spennymoor, County Durham area during 1969 to 1975, employing around 5,000 people. The firm manufactured domestic appliances, including washing machines, fridges and freezers.

David, who has been married to Patricia for 39 years, said:

“My mesothelioma diagnosis really did knock me back, and now I am worried about what the future holds for me and Patricia as my condition gets worse.

I instructed my legal team to investigate where exactly I was exposed to asbestos and if my former employers could have prevented my exposure to it by taking the appropriate safety measures.”

Roger Maddocks, a partner and expert industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said:

“Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that’s caused by exposure to asbestos dust decades ago and it can cause a great deal of pain and suffering for victims like David.

It can take decades for symptoms to develop and often it is then difficult for victims to recall in detail how and where they were exposed.

We are committed to getting answers for David, and are assisting him by investigating conditions at his former employers.

We have been left with no choice but to issue legal proceedings in the High Court in the hope David, and his wife, Patricia, will get the answers they want.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sonia Akram 0191 279 0719 or email