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Written on 31st March 2020

Boyes Turner's specialist asbestos claims lawyers acted for Leslie who was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. 

What is peritoneal mesothelioma?

The peritoneum is the lining of the abdomen of the stomach. It helps to protect the contents of the stomach and keep them in place. The peritoneum has two layers: an inner and outer layer. When mesothelioma occurs in the peritoneum, it occurs in this stomach lining.

The most common type of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma (the lining of the ribcage). Although we do not know precise figures, peritoneal mesothelioma is much rarer than pleural mesothelioma. 

Peritoneal mesothelioma is often more aggressive than pleural mesothelioma. 

Like pleural mesothelioma, the only known cause of peritoneal mesothelioma is previous asbestos exposure.

Asbestos exposure

The team were contacted by Leslie in September and I spoke to him about his case. He remembered being exposed to asbestos with Bells Asbestos & Engineering Company Limited between around 1956 and 1962. He was an improver and then a thermal insulation engineer. He told me that he handled asbestos virtually every day that he worked for Bells and the majority of his time was spent mixing up powdered asbestos called “Hardset” as well as “Magnesia”. Both Hardset and Magnesia came in paper bags that were delivered on a lorry. He carried the paper sacks to wherever he was working. Some of the sacks were already split and some of them split whilst he was carrying them. 

He then mixed the asbestos up in big oil drums. He added water, tipping the water into the drums, mixing the same by hand until it formed a paste. He then applied the asbestos to pipework and boilers by hand. 

He further cut pre-formed sections of asbestos, fixing the asbestos to pipework and attaching it with chicken wire.

He was based in Slough for the entirety of his employment with Bell’s Asbestos. He recalls that although the asbestos materials he used were often from Bell’s Asbestos, he also was required to use asbestos products from Kitsons and Newalls. 

He also worked with asbestos in employment with a company called Versil Limited. He was doing thermal insulation work as a coverer. He was exposed to asbestos in the same way as for Bell’s Asbestos, using products including “Hardset” and “Magnesia” without warning or protection. He was not provided with a mask or any other protective equipment. 

I promptly notified the Insurers of both Versil Limited and Bell’s Asbestos of the claim and obtained Leslie’s medical records.  I instructed a medico-legal expert who practices in respiratory medicine to prepare a full medical report on Leslie’s condition. The report was sent to me at the end of November and I obtained Leslie’s permission to serve the report immediately thereafter. However, Leslie sadly died in a hospice just days later, on his 79thbirthday. 

Devastated family

Leslie was not married, but left behind children who had, of course, cared for Leslie during his illness and who were devastated by his death. The Insurers for Versil Limited conceded liability the day after Leslie passed away. The Insurers for Bell’s admitted breach of duty just over a fortnight later. 


It is incredibly sad that Leslie was not aware of the admission of liability before his passing. 

However, once the medical evidence was finalised (the matter was referred to the Coroner), I drafted a Schedule of Loss which set out the family’s best financial case and made a formal offer to the defendants in the sum of £90,000 which was accepted in June.

Whilst no amount of money will compensate Leslie’s family for the loss of their father, the family are pleased that there has been an acknowledgment of fault by both Bell’s Asbestos and Versil Limited through the negligence of the working practices that were engaged all those years ago and the claim was concluded in nine months.