Former carpenter killed by ‘horrible’ asbestos-related mesothelioma half a century after exposure

A former Burton carpenter did not develop signs of a “horrible” asbestos-related disease until half a century after he was exposed to it, an inquest heard.

Timothy Swift, who passed away in November 2018, was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a type of cancer which develops in the lining of the body’s organs.

Typically, this is linked with exposure to asbestos. An inquest into Mr Shelley’s death was held on January 16 at Burton Town Hall where it was heard his only known exposure to asbestos came between 1967 and 1969.

Despite this he did not show any symptoms of mesothelioma until 50 years later, in early 2018. Details from his family, read at the inquest said:

“He worked all his life as a carpenter joiner for a company in Burton. He worked from around 1967 to 1969 at a one carpenters where he was exposed to others cutting asbestos sheets.”

They added that Mr Swift was not known to have been exposed to asbestos outside the workplace.

Concluding, South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh said:

“In the early part of last year as a result of Mr Swift becoming unwell he was diagnosed with the horrible condition of mesothelioma.

There is no effective treatment, that condition is almost always associated with exposure to asbestos dust and commonly with a long latency period between exposure and symptoms.

Overall on balance I am satisfied that this death was from mesothelioma, this has been caused by exposure to asbestos dust.  The exposure to asbestos dust is likely to have occurred at the workplace so this should be considered an occupational linked death.”

Mr Haigh ruled Mr Swift’s death was caused by mesothelioma, with type two diabetes a contributing factor. The Coroner concluded death was due to industrial disease.