GCHQ ‘asbestos death’ victim’s widower in search for former staff

The husband of a former GCHQ worker believes on-site demolition work may have led to his wife’s death. Jayne Eustace, 48, died in March after a battle with pericardial mesothelioma – an aggressive form of cancer.

Her husband Andy’s legal team has instructed lawyers to pursue whether protection against asbestos dust should have been given to her at the ex-Oakley base. A GCHQ spokesman said they could not comment on individual members of staff. He added they would “deal appropriately with any legal correspondence received”.

Mr Eustace said the “only way you can get mesothelioma is from asbestos” and he is concerned other workers might also have been affected.

“At autopsy, they took the lungs out [of Jayne] and for every gram of dried tissue she had 4,200 asbestos fibres, and she never ever worked with the stuff. All she did was walk along corridors to her desk, and from her desk to her car which was dusty from demolition work GCHQ was carrying out.”

Before her death, Mrs Eustace recalled how a wrecking ball was used to demolish buildings close to where she was working, according to Irwin Mitchell solicitors.  Says lawyer Hayley Hill;

“She remembered her car being dusty from the demolition works and she and her colleagues were not provided with any protective clothing or equipment whilst the maintenance work was carried out in areas containing asbestos.”

Mrs Eustace worked at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) from 1983 to 1990, based at their Oakley site in Cheltenham.

The site was formally closed in 2012, after more than 60 years of use by the intelligence agency.