A RETIRED school caretaker died of lung cancer caused by the asbestos he inhaled more than 40 years before his death while working at York Carriageworks, an inquest was told.

Raymond Laws, who was 73 when he died at St Leonard’s Hospice on February 23, spent all his life in York.

In a statement read at the inquest at New Earswick Folk Hall, his relative, David Laws, said he completed a six-year apprenticeship at what was then British Railways Carriageworks after leaving school at 15.

He worked there for a few years after training before moving to a glassworks. During his time there, asbestos was used as soundproofing in the carriages and the floors were very dusty.

Mr Laws, of Rosedale Avenue, Acomb, also worked as a handyman and for 20 years as a school caretaker. He smoked for most of his life until he gave it up more than 12 years before his death.

Recording a conclusion that Mr Laws died of industrial disease, York coroner Donald Coverdale said the presence of asbestos at the carriageworks was well known and that, over a period of many years, many people in York had died of industrial disease associated with asbestos.

He had no doubt that Mr Laws had been exposed to asbestos and that that led to the lung cancer that caused his death.