Middlesbrough grandfather died just weeks after receiving asbestos compensation - inquest

Teesside Coroners Court

Teesside Coroners Court

First published in News
Last updated
Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter (Stockton/Hartlepool)

THE inquest has been held into the death of a man who died of asbestos-related cancer just weeks after receiving compensation.

David Berry, 60, a grandfather-of-four from Eston, near Middlesbrough, received an undisclosed out-of-court settlement before the claim was due to be heard at court.

The inquest at Teesside Coroners Court heard that Mr Berry, a retired electrician, was first diagnosed with asbestos-related mesthelioma in 2011 and died last October.

Deputy coroner Claire Bailey was informed that Mr Berry, originally from Grangetown, near Middlesbrough, had left school aged 16 and began work as an apprentice electrician in 1968.

He worked in schools, swimming baths and later housing which were built with asbestos related materials.

A postmortem confirmed Mr Berry died of a malignant, cancerous tumour, associated with exposure to asbestos in his chest. An examination of tissue showed a high asbestos fibre count.

Ms Bailey, who recorded a verdict of industrial disease, said: “I am satisfied that David was exposed to asbestos during his professional life and he died as a result of that exposure. It’s clear from the number of people in attendance that David was loved greatly.”

Mr Berry, a keen angler, had spoken to local media of his relief at receiving the out-of-court settlement from a former employer’s insurers, so he could concentrate on spending his remaining time with his family.

He would often have to drill holes while installing light fittings in social housing, and would unwittingly breathe in dust.

The inquest heard he ended up running his own business, Eston Electrical Services, and became asbestos-aware in later life, routinely wearing a mask while working in older Tees Valley Housing Association properties that may have still had asbestos.

Mr Berry, who was married to Janet, had been looked after by Macmillan Nurses and at Teesside Hospice, returned home in his final days and died on Wednesday, October 9.

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