A MOTHER from Wembley who claims she was exposed to asbestos at school is hoping a landmark ruling will help her fight for justice.
Sarah Bowman, 41, was diagnosed with the deadly cancer, mesothelioma, in August 2009, and has been unable to work since.
She believes she was exposed to asbestos when she was a pupil at William Gladstone High School, in Brent, during the late 1970s and early 80s.
In a similar case, the family of Dianne Willmore, who was also exposed to asbestos while at school and died in 2009, won a ground-breaking claim for compensation earlier this month.
It was the first case of compensation awarded to anyone exposed to the potentially lethal substance at school.Miss Bowman hopes the ruling will help thousands more seeking justice, including herself.
She said: "The school officially opened in November 1975, which I’ve since learned was a time when asbestos was still being used in the construction of education buildings.
"We regularly saw walls and partitions in classrooms broken through general day-to-day wear.
"You don’t realise at the time what the consequences will be in the future."
Investigations following an arson attack on William Gladstone High School in 1992 led to the discovery of asbestos.
Dust fibres released in the air following wall and ceiling damage are believed by Miss Bowman to have been the direct cause of her illness.
The single mum of two, to Jason, 20, and eight-year-old Jack, said: "My life has been completely turned upside down and has been very difficult for everyone in my life to come to terms with.
"When the doctor told me I cried my eyes out. I asked him if I was dying and he just put his head down.
"Telling my two children was the worst part."
Law firm, Irwin Mitchell, which is representing the former hospital worker has notified Brent Council of her claim.
Caroline Pinfold, asbestos specialist and partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: "We know the ruling of the Supreme Court will have massive implications on whether Sarah has a chance to be successful in her battle for justice.
"Thankfully, the outcome means we can proceed safe in the knowledge that people like Sarah now have the opportunity to get their voices heard.
"This is also likely to be a wake-up call to schools on just why the terrible legacy of asbestos needs to become a thing of the past."
A Brent Council spokeswoman said: "We are saddened to hear Miss Bowman is ill, but the council will be defending this case because we do not think we are responsible for her illness.
"While there has been correspondence between Miss Bowman’s and the council’s solicitors, Miss Bowman has not to date issued legal proceedings."