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Silent killer blamed for man's death

PUBLISHED: 22:07 29 January 2002 | UPDATED: 15:24 03 March 2010

THE SILENT killer had been lurking inside him for years, but a Hungarian-born pensioner only found out about his lethal lung condition a few months before he died, an inquest heard.

THE SILENT killer had been lurking inside him for years, but a Hungarian-born pensioner only found out about his lethal lung condition a few months before he died, an inquest heard.

The Ipswich Crown Court inquest into the death of Geza Hegyes, of Corder Road, Ipswich recorded a verdict of death by industrial disease.

Coroner's officer Jack Gregory, said Mr Hegyes' widow said he had come into contact with asbestos in connection with his work as a builder, and painter and decorator.

But the effects of Mr Hegyes inhaling the potentially lethal fibres from old buildings, were only diagnosed in May last year, and he remained fine until November.

Mr Gregory said: "Then he began to get very breathless and couldn't walk very far. He went downhill very fast over Christmas."

By December 29, 70-year-old Mr Hegyes was in St Elizabeth's Hospice for respite care, and he died on New Year's Eve.

Deputy coroner Roger Stewart heard that a biopsy in March last year, showed thickening of the lung tissue, which led to mesothelioma – a rare cancerous tumour which usually develops 30 to 40 years after exposure to absestos.

He recorded a verdict of death caused by industrial disease.

Mr Hegyes' death comes a month after the Evening Star told how asbestos campaigners warned that thousands of men and women dying from asbestos related diseases will be robbed of compensation after a court ruling.

The Court of Appeal upheld a previous High Court judgement that compensation could not be paid in a case where a worker was exposed to the deadly dust by more than one employer.

At the time, Helen Bocking founder of the East Anglian branch of the Occupational and Environmental Disease Association said the ruling was a blow for victims and their families.

The Health and Safety Executive estimates the 3,000 asbestos related deaths a year will rise to 10,000 a year by 2020.

The Evening Star has campaigned for rights for victims of asbestosis first in the 1980s when Cliff Quay power station in Ipswich was demolished and again in 1997 with our Silent Disaster campaign.

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