Former naval mechanic slain by asbestos, report says

Asbestos exposure was the cause of a retired naval mechanic’s death, according to a recent Stamford Town Hall inquest.

Personal injury compensation experts say that Billingborough native Ronald Carter, who was 81 years of age at the time of his death on 4 October, had been a victim of malignant mesothelioma, a particularly aggressive form of lung cancer linked with asbestos exposure.  Mr Carter, a mechanic and boiler stoker in the HMS Abercrombie’s engine room, had been exposed to the deadly fibres while performing his duties, according to a posthumous account prepared by him for a personal injury claim this past September, read at the inquest by Coroner Gordon Ryhall.

All the ship’s pipes were lagged with asbestos, according to Mr Carter’s statement, and due to the confined nature of the HMS Abercrombie and because the pipes also ran through the ship’s sleeping quarters, it was nearly an impossibility that they would be damaged or knocked.  This means that the deadly asbestos fibres would have been released into the air and breathed in by those aboard the vessel.

Recording a narrative verdict, Mr Ryhall confirmed Mr Carter’s asbestos exposure, stating that it was quite common during his time in the navy, as there was little evidence at the time how dangerous asbestos could be.  The last few months of Mr Carter’s life were ‘unpleasant,’ added the coroner, as he testified to the aggressive nature of mesothelioma.

Lynne, Mr Carter’s daughter, spoke in the wake of the inquest,  commenting that asbestos exposure was extremely dangerous.  She made her wishes known that information regarding the matter should be made more widely available, but she was gratified to have at least discovered the cause of her father’s death.

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