A FORMER Royal Navy mechanic died from a cancer related to exposure to asbestos, a York inquest heard.

Lawrence Smith, of Nether Poppleton, York, died in York Hospital on December 26, 2001, from mesothelioma, a condition related to exposure to asbestos. He was 64.

The court heard yesterday through a written statement from Mr Smith's widow, Brenda, that her husband had joined the Navy when he was 17.

During his 13-year career in the Navy he had come into contact with asbestos on a number of occasions.

When he was 30 he left the Navy and worked for Shepherd's in York for just over a year, where he was also exposed to asbestos.

York coroner Donald Coverdale said: "Mr Smith does have a history of working with asbestos dating back to his time in the Royal Navy.

"The verdict I return is that he died from the industrial disease mesothelioma."

Updated: 10:45 Wednesday, April 16, 2003