Retired BBC engineer gets payout over diagnosis linked to Brighton bombing

Retired engineer Malcolm Hunter, who has received a six-figure settlement from the BBC

Retired engineer Malcolm Hunter, who has received a six-figure settlement from the BBC - Credit: David Rose

A retired BBC engineer has received a payout of more than £250,000 after being diagnosed with mesothelioma - a form of cancer linked with exposure to asbestos.

Malcolm Hunter, of Fakenham, believes he was exposed to asbestos dust on several occasions during his long career with the Corporation, including when covering the aftermath of the IRA's bombing of the Grand Brighton Hotel in 1984.

He was told in December 2020 that he had just six months to live following his diagnosis, which came on top of two other forms of cancer he was already living with.

He had worked for the Corporation for more than 30 years, a period that saw him travel all over the world for his work and play a key role in the coverage of Euro 96, as senior engineering manager.

The broadcaster has offered its condolences to Mr Hunter and said health and safety was its primary concern.

But the 78-year-old said that throughout his long-spanning career his work saw him inhale asbestos dust on several occasions.

These occasions included while working on coverage of political party conferences at Blackpool's Winter Gardens and Brighton's Grand Hotel, which was bombed by the IRA.

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He recalls being aware of the presence of asbestos in both of these venues, as well as in the BBC's Television Centre 2 in Daventry, where he regularly worked.

The broadcaster has made payouts of more than £1.6m in the past decade to settle similar claims to Mr Hunter's.

He said it was always well-known what dangers the substance posed to people's health at the time.

"It is just one of those unfortunate things," he added. "We will never really know where I picked it up from, but the BBC knew full well about the risks of it - there was even a Panorama investigation into it."

Mr Hunter sought the help of asbestos-related disease solicitors Ashton Legal and has received a settlement of more than £250,000 - which he says will ensure he can fulfil one of his final wishes.

He said: "My wife and I always said that we did not want to die in a nursing home or in a hospital. She died two years ago and this settlement means that I too will be able to die at home."

Martyn Haywood, who represented him, said: "While no amount of money can really begin to compensate someone for a reduced life expectancy, this settlement will help Mr Hunter to be as comfortable as possible for the remainder of his life.”

A BBC spokesman said: "Our thoughts are with Malcolm Hunter and his family at this very difficult time. The health and safety of BBC staff is a primary concern.

"The BBC manages asbestos in accordance with the regulations and keeps safety management continually under review.”