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Woman died of mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos dust from her husband’s work clothes

PUBLISHED: 13:57 04 June 2018 | UPDATED: 17:11 05 June 2018

The Coroners Court at Beacon House, White House Road, Ipswich

The Coroners Court at Beacon House, White House Road, Ipswich


A ‘kind and loving’ 71-year-old woman from Benacre died as a result of mesothelioma having been exposed to asbestos dust while washing her husband’s clothes.

An inquest yesterday into the death of Janet O’Connell revealed she had been diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease in February 2014 despite having had no direct contact with the material.

Following the hearing, her family described her as ‘a very special woman’.

They said: “She was a kind and loving wife, mother and grandmother.

“She was a fighter, she never let this get her down.

“She carried on and battled on and didn’t let it phase her.

“She was a very strong woman, a very special woman.”

During the inquest, assistant coroner Dr Dan Sharpstone read a statement written by Mrs O’Connell before her death.

In the statement she said her husband Michael had worked as a carpenter and had used asbestos during the 1960s and 1970s, unaware of the dangers.

She said she would wait to wash his work clothes last as they were often covered in dust and would shake them out before putting them in the washing machine.

Dr Sharpstone said: “I am going to conclude that the cause of the death was mesothelioma with exposure to asbestos dust from the clothes of her husband.”

Her family said they would like to spread awareness of asbestos exposure, especially those who come in contact with the substance second hand.

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