Industrial disease verdict

A RETIRED engineer died as a result of industrial disease, an inquest heard.

Ex-Richardson and Westgarth Marine Engineers worker Thomas Johnson, 78, died at his home in Stockton Road, Hartlepool, on April 23.

Town coroner Malcolm Donnelly recorded a verdict of industrial disease after the cause of death was found to be diffuse malignant mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure.

Mr Donnelly asked Mr Johnson’s widow about her husband’s work history.

Mrs Johnson told the court her husband worked for Richardson and Westgarth at Middleton around 1953 and he would balance turbines by hand.

She said her husband worked there until he got called up for National Service in the Navy.

After Mr Donnelly recorded his verdict, Mrs Johnson said: “It’s taken all this time to come through.

“I think it’s triggered it off with his pneumonia.”

Mr Donnelly replied: “It takes 30 to 40 years.

“People can be reasonably fit, it just grabs you, that’s what shortened his life I’m afraid.”