Cadbury Limited has been successfully sued following the death of a former Bristol employee from the deadly asbestos cancer mesothelioma. Leading trade union Amicus pursued the claim for compensation for the family of William Webster, a widower from Keynsham, Bristol, who died in August 2005, aged 80.

Around 1960, Mr Webster went to work for Cadbury’s at Somerdale, Keynsham as an Electrician. He retired in 1988 at the age of 62 after 28 years of service to the company. The boilers at the Cadbury site were all clad in white or blue asbestos lagging, as were the surrounding pipes. His job included removing sections of lagging with his bare hands in order to get at parts of the generating mechanism. This was a dusty procedure which would undoubtedly have resulted in him breathing in the deadly asbestos dust.

Mr Webster’s son Steven Webster is 54 and lives in Hanham, Bristol. He too worked at Cadbury’s from 1976 as an engineer, and explains: “There was a great deal of asbestos lagging present on the site; I would have had some contact with the asbestos myself. There were never any warnings given or breathing protection provided. However, it was only after my dad’s death that we were told by the coroner that he had malignant mesothelioma. An inquest established that the mesothelioma was indeed a cause of his death.”

Laurence Faircloth, regional secretary for Amicus, comments: “The deadly asbestos cancer mesothelioma is responsible for 1,800 deaths each year, and has already wreaked havoc on innocent families such as the Websters. We would urge other members who worked at Cadbury in the 1960s and 70s and who think they may have been exposed to asbestos to contact us for support and advice.”

Representing Mr Webster, his solicitor James Davies, from Thompsons Solicitors in Bristol - a firm which specialises in asbestos related diseases - comments: “Before his death, Mr Webster was an active, physical man. During the last 6 months of his life he was in a lot of pain and was unable to play any golf or drive a car. Prior to this he had been very independent and very healthy. Sadly, it appears that he has become the latest innocent victim of mesothelioma - a tragic illness which is caused by the negligence of employers like Cadbury. It is sad that Cadbury initially refused to accept responsibility for Mr Webster’s condition, thereby causing additional distress to the family.”