A RETIRED engineer died of mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at work, a coroner has concluded.

John Sinclair Holland died on January 31 at his home in Undy, Monmouthshire, where he had been receiving palliative care.

The inquest at Newport on Tuesday heard written evidence from Mr Holland's doctor, who said the 80-year-old had had a history of respiratory illness and had been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma – a type of cancer normally linked to asbestos exposure.


Before his death, Mr Holland had himself provided a statement to his doctor outlining his employment history.

The former engineer had worked in the steel industry around pipes lagged with asbestos. His work included removing and replacing that lagging, and Mr Holland would notice asbestos fibres on his hands and forearms as he did this.

He had written that no protective equipment had been provided to prevent this, and he had not been offered any advice on the dangers of asbestos.

Later, in the 1960s, Mr Holland worked removing boilers – again without any warnings about the risks of asbestos. At another time, he worked on the demolition of an old cinema and may also have been exposed to asbestos during that job.

Caroline Saunders, the senior coroner for Gwent, noted that Mr Holland had been a fit and healthy man who enjoyed visiting the gym and playing golf until he fell ill in May 2019 and his situation worsened with the "ongoing rapid progression" of his epithelioid malignant mesothelioma.

The coroner said she was satisfied Mr Holland's mesothelioma was associated with asbestos exposure, and that the exposure had happened during the course of his employment.

Ms Saunders recorded a conclusion of industrial disease and extended her condolences to Mr Holland's family.