Coventry family fight for answers after devastating diagnosis following dad’s death

Posted on: 2 mins read
Anthony Waddington

Partner, Industrial Disease Claims

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An inquest found that Michael Swift had died from an asbestos related illness.

The devastated family of a man who died from an asbestos related disease have launched an appeal to discover how he came into contact with the deadly material, calling on his former colleagues to come forward with any information.

Michael Swift, 80, from Radford, Coventry, sadly died in May last year, having contracted a form of pneumonia which causes inflammation and fluid on the lungs. He leaves behind his wife, Margaret, and three daughters.

Investigations into his symptoms began shortly before he passed away, but it was only after his death that his family were devastated to learn that his death had been caused in part because his lungs were weakened by asbestos related pulmonary fibrosis – a type of pulmonary fibrosis, or lung scarring, specifically caused by inhaling asbestos fibres

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At an inquest into his death which took place in Coventry in July 2021, the Coroner ruled that on the balance of probabilities, ‘the Deceased was exposed to asbestos during the course of his employment’.

Michael’s widow has now instructed expert industrial disease lawyers at Simpson Millar to help determine when and where he was exposed to the deadly asbestos fibres, and whether more could have been done to protect him.

Before his death, Michael, who was known to his family and friends as ‘Mick’ described to his wife how he had worked with asbestos whilst working at Kinnear Moodie & Co, where he spent a lot of his time shuttering underground.

The former carpenter/builder worked for Kinnear Moodie & Co limited in Milton Keynes from 1969 to 1972 where he would cut asbestos sheets, plywood and 4x2 timbers to use for shuttering.

His wife Margaret said: “Michael was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather who loved spending time with his family. His death has affected us all very much, and we are very upset to hear from the coroner that he is likely to have suffered as a result of exposure to asbestos.

“After the doctors started to look into what was causing his illness, we had a discussion about when and where he might have been exposed, we had actually previously discussed his exposure to asbestos in passing years before.”

The family are now looking to speak to anyone who worked with Michael during his career, and particularly from anyone who may have information about the working conditions at Kinnear Moodie & Co Limited where he was employed between 1969 to 1972.

Speaking on behalf of the family their lawyer, industrial disease expert Anthony Waddington, from Simpson Millar, said: “Mrs Swift and her daughters are understandably devastated to have learnt of Mr Swift’s diagnosis following his death last year.

“As is true of all the asbestos related diseases the symptoms of asbestos related pulmonary fibrosis can appear many years after the exposure. It is a terribly cruel illness which results in chronic breathing difficulties and much heartache for the families.

“The family are now desperate for answers as to where and when Mr Swift came into contact with the deadly dust and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

“We are particularly keen to hear from anyone who worked alongside him at Kinnear Moodie & Co.

“While the dangers of asbestos have been known for many decades there are still, sadly, many people dying prematurely because of related illnesses, because they were not made aware of its presence and were not provided with appropriate protective equipment.

If you have any information, please contact Anthony Waddington at Simpson Millar on [email protected], or on 0345 357 9338.

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