YEARS of exposure to asbestos led to the death of a West Dorset man, a coroner has ruled.

John Robert Jarvis, of Glebe Court, Beaminster, died after inhaling the toxic fibres during several years of working in maintenance, an inquest at County Hall heard.

Mr Jarvis, aged 81, was diagnosed with plural plaques a few years ago and began legal proceedings against two companies he had worked for.

After his death last December, a post mortem revealed he had malignant mesothelioma, which is a cancer caused most commonly by exposure to asbestos.

For some part of his employment, Mr Jarvis was required to crawl through manholes lined with asbestos, the inquest heard.

He had made a statement in legal proceedings saying he was never provided with protective equipment and no risk assessments were ever carried out.

He added: “We simply weren’t told about the risks.”

Recording a verdict that Mr Jarvis died of an industrial disease, coroner for Dorset Sheriff Payne said people suffering from asbestos-related diseases often don’t know ‘for tens of years’ after they have finished being exposed to it.

He added: “I am satisfied that Mr Jarvis has died as a result of exposure to asbestos.”