Shropshire Star

Asbestos linked to death of Leegomery pensioner

A heating engineer "more likely than not" died after being exposed to asbestos 20 to 40 years ago, a coroner has concluded.


The body of Robert Clive Cambridge, aged 75, was discovered at his home in Leegomery, Telford, on January 5, after police forced their way in after responding to concerns from neighbours.

As a part of his investigations, coroner John Ellery wrote to the Ministry of Defence to enquire about Mr Cambridge's work at RAF Cosford.

Mr Ellery, the senior coroner for Shropshire & Telford, told a fast track inquest on Thursday that MOD officials told him that he would have been wearing protective equipment and was "not likely exposed there".

He also looked at details from the taxman about Mr Cambridge's employment history but that gave no detailed information that might have pinned down a period of time in which Mr Cambridge contracted malignant mesothelioma.

Mr Ellery had written to the family of Mr Cambridge saying that it was not the role of an inquest to establish blame for a death.

He told them that Mr Cambridge "likely would have been exposed to asbestos at some time or another possibly 20-40 years ago."

The inquest at Shirehall in Shrewsbury was told that Dr Laura Potter, a consultant histopathologist, conducted a post mortem. She found a malignant mesothelioma - a cancer - in his right lung and a furring up of arteries that would have reduced the functional capacity of Mr Cambridge's body.

She decided that his death was caused by the malignancy and was contributed to by furring up of his arteries. Dr Potter's evidence also included that asbestos exposure is responsible for most causes of such deaths.

Mr Ellery said the vast majority of such cases of the disease are due to asbestos and it is "more likely than not" that Mr Cambridge had been exposed to asbestos at some point in the last 20-40 years.

Mr Ellery concluded without identifying a period of employment involved or apportioning blame that Mr Cambridge died of an industrial disease.

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