I had the privilege of meeting Jonathan Woods and acted for him in respect of his claim for mesothelioma arising out of his exposure to asbestos at the Grand Hotel, scene of the 1984 Brighton Bombing.
5 people were killed by the IRA in the blast and sadly Jonathan became the sixth victim when he died in December 2015 of this disease.
Sussex police have now issued a press release to warn other others who attended the scene that they may have also been exposed to asbestos at the site.
Sussex Police have stated in their press release that the risks are small and they seek to offer reassurance and advice.
When the bomb went off on the sixth floor of the hotel the front of the building collapsed into the basement. Johnathan, a forensic officer with the Met, spent 14 days sifting by hand through the dust and rubble looking for evidence. The dust was contaminated with blue asbestos suspected to be from lagging in the Victorian hotel. He was accompanied by 14 other officers of the Met and 15 officers from Sussex Police and they would all in theory have suffered the same exposure.
Hopefully the ambulance service crews and fire services who attended above ground would not have been exposed to the same extent.
This is not the only case of mesothelioma many years after a bomb attack. A forensic officer from the 1981 IRA bomb at a Wimpy bar in Oxford Street also developed mesothelioma from the asbestos dust he breathed in and a security guard at the scene of the 1996 Arndale Centre attack in Manchester died of this disease in 2015.
When the twin towers collapsed on 11 September 2001 a massive cloud of smoke and dust enveloped the area. The asbestos fireproofing materials from the buildings were pulverised to fine dust and scattered over Lower Manhattan.
Already there has been one victim to mesothelioma, an emergency responder to the scene. The disease can have a latency period of up to 60 years from exposure and it is likely that there will be more to come.