Ghastly ghouls in Somerset

MANY ghastly ghouls and fiendish ghosts reportedly stalk the buildings and streets of Somerset, so as Halloween creeps nearer the Weston & Somerset Mercury investigated the scary stories about our area.

A PENSIONER from Cheddar died after being exposed to asbestos while working in some of the regions hospitals.

Ernest Paul, of Nye Close, died aged 77, of malignant mesothelioma after working for Mid Somerset Hospital Board during the 1960s.

Mr Paul was a maintenance worker for the board and used to work in hospitals across the county assisting with the boilers and helping remove asbestos.

The pensioner died in Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton after being told by a doctor he only had a few months to live.


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In June 2006, Mr Paul, started to have breathing difficulties. By December his condition was getting worse and he went to see a doctor at Cheddar Health Centre before being referred to Musgrove Park. There he was told he only had a life expectancy of three to six months.

Although Mr Paul worked with small amounts of asbestos when he was employed by a refrigeration units company, West Somerset coroner Michael Rose said it was the work for the health authority that led to his condition.

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Speaking at an inquest in Bridgwater on Tuesday, Mr Rose said: “There is no doubt that in the early stages of his life, Mr Paul came into contact with asbestos but only in small quantities.

“His employment with the health authority is where the problems that overcame him developed.”

Mr Paul’s daughter Lesley Maunders, of Knightstone Close in Axbridge, appeared at the hearing with her sister and brother.

Mr Rose said Mr Paul’s inquest was the 17th case of asbestos exposure he had dealt with this year and the fourth this month.

Mr Rose added: “I hope that soon the deaths arising from asbestos will reach a peak. I return a verdict that Mr Paul died from the industrial disease mesothelioma and the medical cause of death was malignant mesothelioma. I extend my deepest sympathy to the family.”

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