London Colney man died due to asbestos exposure

A LONDON Colney man, who worked to repair damaged roofs after the Second World War, died as a result of exposure to asbestos, an inquest has ruled.

Derrick Todd, 81, passed away at the Peace Hospice in Watford, on March 13 of this year.

An inquest at Hatfield on Tuesday heard how Mr Todd, of Lowbell Lane, had been admitted to hospital in January 2010 after suffering with a shortness of breath. He was later diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Statements given in 2010 about his working life revealed Mr Todd had been exposed to asbestos when he had worked as a carpenter, repairing roofs that had been bombed during the war. He was just 15 at the time.

Mr Todd, who was born in Barnet, had also said in the statements that he could not remember any other time during which he would have been exposed to asbestos.

Herts Coroner Edward Thomas explained how it took a very long time for the symptoms of mesothelioma to show and that everything known about the disease would suggest it was that exposure which had lead to it developing.

Mr Todd, who had a number of other conditions including high blood pressure, was later admitted to the Peace Hospice following a fall where he later died. A post-mortem examination showed that this did not contribute to his death in any way.

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The cause of death was given as sepsis, caused by a lung abscess, as a result of malignant mesothelioma. Hypertensive heart disease was listed as a secondary cause. A verdict of death by industrial disease was recorded by the coroner.

Mr Todd’s wife Marian, who was present at the inquest, said she was baffled as to why it hadn’t been picked up sooner, as he had had a number of tests on his heart.

Mr Thomas explained that the mesothelioma would have been “a silent condition” before 2010 and that two years was quite a long time to survive.

Mrs Todd replied: “I was very lucky that he lasted as long as he did.”