Inquest rules movie prop man from St Albans died from asbestos exposure

13:32 13 September 2013

Coroner

Coroner's Court.

Archant

A FILM prop master who worked on The Sweeney and Empire of the Sun died due to asbestos exposure, a coroner ruled last Thursday.

Gordon Billings, of Hill End Road, St Albans, had a history of shortness of breath and coughing and died on August 13 this year at Harefield Hospital from lung cancer.

A biopsy of the left lung carried out at the Royal Brompton on May 28 diagnosed mesothelioma and he was admitted to Watford General Hospital on August 11 before being transferred to Harefield in Middlesex.

An inquest heard that Mr Billings had a career history which would have risked exposure to fibres, including a post at British Rail which involved clearing dust from trains.

His job at Associated British Cinemas and EMI as a prop man saw him regularly cleaning out derelict buildings in East London.

Once or twice a year the 78 year old would sweep up and throw away corrugated sheet metal, known for its asbestos content, in just his regular clothes.

The Welshman, originally from Mid-Glamorgan, said in a witness statement read out by Assistant Deputy Herts Coroner Alison Grief that he was not aware of being exposed to asbestos but that sets were often made alongside him.

While working on The Sweeney in the early ‘70s there were certain areas he could not go into as they were roped off for contamination, and during his time on location for Steven Spielberg movie Empire of the Sun at Greenwich power station he had to sweep dust and debris from the floor.

The assistant deputy coroner ruled the death as due to industrial disease.

0 comments

More news stories

Yesterday, 15:00
Head shave

No-one is wishing that the weather gets warmer than Sam Jacobs after having her head shaved for charity.

Yesterday, 12:00
Sporting Achiever finalists

Each year, only the district’s finest education establishments, staff and pupils are awarded a gold star in the Herts Advertiser School Awards.

Saturday, April 30, 2016
Sumita and some of the children

A volunteer who has made numerous trips to help refugees has spoken of her concern following her latest visit to Athens.

Buy tickets now for Jesus Christ Superstar at the Radlett Centre

Following on from the recent successes of ‘Hello Dolly’, ‘Company’ and ‘Children of Eden’ in 2015, the award-winning Radlett Light Operatic Society are bringing another classic to the stage this spring.

Most read stories

Local business directory

Hertfordshire's trusted business finder
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up