County Durham asbestos settlement

A fashion designer from County Durham who developed terminal cancer after making asbestos snow balls from dust in a local factory when she was a girl has won a settlement.

Caroline Wilcock, 51, grew up in Bowburn, next to an asbestos firm. Children collected the asbestos to make snow balls.

Miss Wilcock's case against Cape Intermediate Holdings PLC, previously known as The Cape Asbestos Company, was due to be held but the firm settled with her out of court.

She suffered asbestos poisoning between 1967 and 1983, and was diagnosed with mesothelioma three years ago.

"I feel I had a responsibility to the community I grew up in to pursue my claim and to now talk about it publicly.

"My case establishes that the people of Bowburn were exposed to the dangers of asbestos over forty years ago and were largely unaware or unable to do anything to protect themselves and their children.

"I am angry that I and other children came into contact with asbestos whilst playing in our village and around our homes, and feel certain that my case will not be in isolation."

– Caroline Wilcock

"There are few lawyers and law firms who would take on a claim that presented such obstacles and that posed such risks.

"I am delighted that we were able to obtain substantial monetary recognition for Caroline but I fear the Government's intended reforms to the financing of mesothelioma claims will bring an end to such public interest litigation."

– Andrew Morgan, Field Fisher Waterhouse

The firm that operated the factory no longer exists so her team brought their case against the successor.