AN INQUEST into the death of a retired Stroud builder whose family thought may have been exposed to deadly asbestos found his death was natural.

Ivor Gardiner, 80, probably did work with asbestos during his long working life but a post mortem found that he had died from heart and lung disease possibly related to long term smoking.

Mr Gardiner, of East View Cottages, The Camp, Stroud, was born in nearby Bisley and had lived in the area all his life, Gloucestershire Deputy Coroner David Dooley heard.

He died at home on September 8 last year.

His son Robert told the hearing at Gloucestershire Coroners Court that he had worked as a farm labourer and then for thirty years as a tiler.

During this work, for local company Freemans, he said he would have been exposed to asbestos.

Mr Gardiner’s GP Dr Rhys Evans said he had smoking related chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD) He had colon cancer in 2010, he said, and started suffering from lung congestion in September 2011 with severe breathlessness.

A scan showed severe lung fibrosis and he said lung damage had been noted as far back as 2005.

The CAT scan had not shown any of the typical changes associated with asbestos and he said there was little therapy available.

Mr Gardiner returned home after admission to hospital on August 12 2012, and he then deteriorated and died.

Consultant pathologist Professor Neil Shepherd carried out a post mortem and did find plural plaques, but he said that there was no lung cancer, and death had been caused by bronchopneumonia as a complication of COPD.

Microscopic analysis of the lungs found the pneumonia present throughout but only minor fibrosis.

"There is little doubt that the main change in the lungs was congestion, together with chronic bronchitis," he said.

He also found heart disease and gave the cause of death as pneumonia and heart failure caused by the COPD and heart disease.

Summing up, Mr Dooley said the post mortem had found no asbestos-related disease, and that Mr Gardiner had died from a combination of two natural disease processes.

Verdict: natural causes.