A WIDOWER is suing for more than £300,000 over the death of his wife.

Brian Butcher, of Woodfieldside, Blackwood, is claiming more than £300,000 and a personal injury claim of more than £1,000 from Newport council, which took over responsibility for administering claims against the now defunct Gwent County Council.

Mr Butcher has issued a form at the High Court which claims his wife, Brenda, 65, was exposed to and inhaled "injurious quantities of asbestos dust and fibre" during the course of her employment with the council's corporate predecessors, Gwent Council, between 1980 and 1988.

Mrs Butcher, who died on April 28, 2011, of mesothelioma, worked as a cleaner then as a caretaker at Pengam Primary School, Commercial Street, Pengam, where she was responsible for the heating, which at the time existed as two sites.

His claim form says that on one site sat Pengam Welsh School where it is alleged the gas fire boiler and surrounding pipes were, "lagged with asbestos".

The other site was the primary school, where the surrounding pipework of the coal fired boiler was also allegedly lagged with asbestos.

The form states the majority of Mrs Butcher's time, who was described as a "very proud and efficient cleaner," was spent cleaning which included the cleaning of both boiler rooms and pipes.

The form says Mrs Butcher's boiler rooms were "hot and dusty" and her cleaning and sweeping up of asbestos dust and debris, which would be left on the floor after maintenance works were carried out, would have, "raised substantial amounts of asbestos dust and fibre in the confined spaces of the boiler room."

It states Mrs Butcher was "not warned" about the dangers of exposure to asbestos dust and fibre.

Mr Butcher's form claims his wife should have been "protected" against the inhalation of the substance and says her exposure was caused by the "negligence and, or breach of statutory duty of the defendants, their servants or agents."

His form says the employer, "failed" to provide his wife with a "safe place of work" and failed to provide equipment which would produce an exhaust draught preventing the entry into the air of any workplace of asbestos dust and failing to ensure all loose asbestos when not in use was kept in "suitable closed" containers.

A spokesman for Newport council said: "Following local government reorganisation in 1996, Newport City Council has administered all insurance claims for the former Gwent County Council.

"This is why it is the named defendant in this particular case. It played no part in the running of the school."