A RETIRED plumber died after working with asbestos more than 50 years ago.

David Alfred Marten’s sister told an inquest how the industrial material had been ‘like snow’ at F W Cook and Co Ltd.

The 77-year-old, from Chandler’s Ford, had left school at 15, taking up a plumbing apprenticeship with the company in The Strand, Southampton.

Valery Benham told the inquest at Southampton Coroner’s Court: “In those days you didn’t know it [asbestos] was dangerous. I think it was like snow.”

Mr Marten left at 21, after serving in the armed forces, and worked at British American Tobacco in Millbrook for 25 years. He died at Brockdale House Care Home in Hursley Road, Chandler’s Ford, on September 27 last year.

Simon Burge, assistant coroner for central Hampshire, concluded that Mr Marten had died of heart and lung failure as a result of bronchopneumonia and extensive bilateral plural plaques, caused by contact with asbestos, most likely during his apprenticeship.

He recorded that Mr Marten had died of an industrial disease.