A coroner ruled that a mother from Bury St Edmunds died from exposure to asbestos.

Nicola Baker-Munton died on February 3 at her home in Stanningfield, near Bury St Edmunds, aged 59.

On Friday, her inquest was heard before Suffolk Coroners' Court in Ipswich. 

A patent attorney, Mrs Baker-Munton founded her own company around the year 2000, a flourishing business that employed over 60 people.

She was said to be someone who gave back to her community, shown through her commitment to the life sciences.

The court heard that Mrs Baker-Munton had been diagnosed with mesothelioma of the peritoneal in December 2022. Mesothelioma is a cancer of mesothelial tissue which is associated with exposure to asbestos.

Asbestos is the name given to a group of naturally occurring fibrous minerals which are resistant to heat and corrosion.

Because of these desirable properties, asbestos was historically used in commercial products such as insulation, fireproofing materials and wallboard materials.

Asbestos is dangerous because when disturbed, it releases tiny fibres into the air which become trapped in the lungs. The use of asbestos is now banned.

Mrs Baker-Munton lived with cancer for three and a half years before her death.

In court, presiding coroner Darren Stewart OBE said that it had been impossible to ascertain when exactly Mrs Baker-Munton had been exposed to asbestos. However, he noted that she had attended school in the 1960s and 70s, at a time when asbestos was commonly used in buildings.

He delivered a narrative conclusion, finding that while Mrs Baker-Munton had died as a result of mesothelioma of the peritoneal, exactly when she was exposed to asbestos could not be known for certain.