An ex-army mechanic whose wife died from an asbestos-related illness after cleaning the substance off of his overalls in the 1970s has received compensation from the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
John Todd worked with the substance, which was used for heat protection on pipes, in the 1970s, when he was stationed in Germany with the British army.
His wife would dutifully clean his overalls, which were more often than not covered in asbestos dust.
In 2010, doctors diagnosed Mrs Todd as suffering from mesothelioma, a condition caused by exposure to asbestos. She died seven months later aged 66.
Mr Todd, aged 68, said: “I was paid to be killed in the service of the country, my wife wasn’t.
“But she was killed in the service of the country keeping me clean, while I did my job.
“She was my life. I will miss her.”
Mr Todd worked as an Army mechanic for 22 years, serving in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical engineers.
His postings saw the couple live in various locations around the world.
Mr Todd continued: “We worked it out that the only time that she [Mrs Todd] had ever been near asbestos was possibly working with my overalls.”
The coroner agreed with the recollection.
“It was a way of life,” said Mr Todd, “asbestos was used, asbestos was widely used, it was the magical thing.”
Mr Todd received an out-of-court compensation settlement of £110,000.
He said: “They’ve [the MOD] accepted straight away and they’ve paid.
“They’ve paid a reasonable amount… and I’m happy.”
The MOD issued a statement which said: “We extend our condolences to Mr John Todd on the death of his wife, Helene.
“When compensation claims are submitted, they are considered on the basis of whether or not the Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay compensation.
“Where there is a legal liability to pay compensation we do so.
“The amount of compensation paid is determined by common law principles which take account of an individual’s pain and suffering, degree of injury, property losses, past and future financial losses and level of care required.”
Around 2000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with mesothelioma.