Wife launches claim after Birmingham man's asbestos death
The widow of a Birmingham man who died after being exposed to asbestos has launched a battle for compensation against Aston University.
James Harrison, from Billesley, was 68 when he died from the asbestos-related lung disease, mesothelioma.
His widow Mary Harrison believes he was exposed to dangerous asbestos dust and particles while working as a porter at one of Birmingham’s former prominent conference centres, owned by Aston University.
Mr Harrison was based at the University’s James Gracie Centre in Wake Green Road, Moseley, from 1990 to 2000 when the old Tudor house was used as a conference venue by academics.
Mrs Harrison said as a porter, her husband would regularly visit the boiler house connected to the centre, where it is believed he came into contact with the asbestos that led to his death.
Mrs Harrison, who is appealing her husband’s work colleagues to help her battle with information, said: “After being diagnosed with mesothelioma in June 2007, Jim’s condition continued to worsen. During his last few months, Jim really suffered and deteriorated quickly.
“He lost a lot of weight. His energy levels dropped dramatically and he constantly felt weak and tired. It was awful seeing him in this way.”
Family solicitor Tariq Khan, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, said that following Mr Harrison’s death in August 2007, Birmingham coroner Aidan Cotter returned a verdict of industrial disease.
“It is vital, in order for his family to continue with his claim, that people who have information concerning the James Gracie Centre and in particular those who worked there, come forward to assist us with our inquiries,” he said.
Mesothelioma can lie dormant for decades but there is no cure.
Sally Finn, Aston University spokeswoman, said: “As this is an ongoing investigation, the university can not comment at this time.”