Helen Wickings, a former civil servant at the Croydon and Epsom Inland Revenue (IR) offices in England, passed away last week at 65 in the midst of an asbestos lawsuit against the tax office. Mrs. Wickings had a 40-year career with the Inland Revenue and believed she was exposed to asbestos on multiple occasions. Following Mrs. Wicking’s death, the Coroner’s Court heard her case which included written statements regarding her work history that she had made before her death.
Mrs. Wickings believed her first exposure had come in the 1970’s from what she referred to as the “dusty archives” of the IR office in Croydon. She believed a move to the Epsom office in the 1980’s provided further asbestos exposure because part of her job was to check the office’s fuel meters in a boiler room filled with old pipes. As proof of the asbestos in the boiler room, Mrs. Wickings spoke of a flood in the room that required contractors, outfitted in protective equipment, to be called in for asbestos abatement. Before the public became aware of its carcinogenic properties, asbestos-containing insulation was used around boilers and pipes because of its resistance to heat, friction, electrical, and chemical damage.
The Coroner’s Court came to the conclusion that Helen Wickings, as she had claimed, died from occupational asbestos exposure. Her sister and her husband were able to pay tribute to her memory at the court. Mrs. Wickings is also survived by two sons, a daughter, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Have you or a loved one been exposed to asbestos or diagnosed with lung disease as a result of a job? An asbestos attorney may be able to help.