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Exposure to asbestos half a century ago claims life of David King from Hungerford

A HOME renovator and gardener succumbed to the effects of asbestos after exposure during the 1970s.

David George King died from the industrial disease at home in Honeyfields, Hungerford, with his wife at his side, an inquest in Reading Town Hall heard on Tuesday, January 16.

Reading Town Hall
Reading Town Hall

He was aged 84.

Mr King was born in Froxfield and worked as a home renovator and, later, as a gardener, being self-employed all his working life.

His son Andrew revealed that, during the ‘70s, his father was employed to help to renovate a private school in Wiltshire.

A car port had to be lined with asbestos sheeting, which needed to be trimmed.

Asbestos was a common building material at the time.

It is now known that exposure to it can cause cancer of the lung lining, mesothelioma, if the fibres become airborne.

Andrew King said that, when his father retired from renovation work, he became a self-employed gardener and he did not believe there had been any subsequent exposure to asbestos.

Last May, the inquest heard, Mr King attended his GP surgery complaining of shortness of breath.

Following a diagnosis of mesothelioma and treatment at the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, Mr King opted for palliative care at home.

He stated he did not want to return to hospital if that was possible, the hearing was told.

As the end neared, Mr King was fitted with a syringe driver – a small, battery-powered pump that delivers medication at a constant rate throughout the day and night.

Assistant Berkshire coroner Justice Spencer said: “Mr King died, peacefully, at home at 7.20pm on June 22, 2023; he died with his wife present.”

A post mortem examination determined the cause of death was mesothelioma.

Ms Spencer said: “A mesothelioma death routinely requires an inquest as it is an industrial disease.”

She stressed the purpose of the inquest was not to apportion blame but merely to answer the coronial questions: “Who has died; how, when and where they came by their death.”

Ms Spencer said: “I find David George King died at [a specific address in] Honeyfields, Hungerford, on June 22, 2023 and that he died from malignant mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos during construction work.”

She recorded a conclusion of death from industrial disease.

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