Legal investigation into claims of asbestos in tunnels under Harrods after Radlett woman's cancer diagnosis
PUBLISHED: 06:00 25 April 2015 | UPDATED: 08:46 28 April 2015
Lawyers are investigating whether a former lingerie seller diagnosed with terminal cancer may have been exposed to asbestos dust in tunnels beneath Harrods.
Sandra Schaverien, 75, of Radlett, is “shell-shocked” after being told she has developed an asbestos-related cancer.
She is suffering from mesothelioma, a cancer in the lining of the lungs caused by exposure to the deadly dust.
Sandra worked at Harrods between 1991 and 2001, and believes she may have been exposed to asbestos dust in underground tunnels below the upmarket department store on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge.
The mother-of-three used to walk through them to access the store and collect merchandise.
Sandra explained: “I started suffering from chest pains and was struggling to breathe. When I was diagnosed with mesothelioma I was devastated and remain shell-shocked to this day.
“My husband had Parkinson’s disease for 10 years and both its severity and the deterioration in my own health meant he had to go into a nursing home. I visited him every day until he passed away, but I felt unable to share my diagnosis because I wanted to spare him unnecessary anxiety.”
She has recently approached law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is trying to establish how Sandra came into contact with asbestos.
Although the firm cannot say as yet whether it will result in legal action being brought against Harrods, it has issued a press release appealing to Sandra’s former colleagues to get in touch.
Helen England, asbestos lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Sandra has been devastated by her terminal diagnosis. She can recall the underground tunnels that she used to regularly walk through as being very dusty.
“We would like to hear from anyone who worked at Harrods between 1991 and 2001 as they may have vital information that could help provide answers.”
Sharon added: “I hope my former colleagues get in touch as any information about the potential presence of asbestos and working conditions, no matter how small, could help.
“Nothing can turn back the clock but knowing that my family will have financial security in the future will give me peace of mind, and allow me to make the most of the time I have left.”
A Harrods spokesman said: “We are very sorry to hear of the ill health of a former employee. Harrods has not received any request for an investigation into this matter, therefore we are unable to provide any further comment or information.
“Employee wellbeing is our priority and we would take any claim extremely seriously.”