INQUEST: Conwy vicar's wife died from asbestos-related disease


Staff reporter (NW Pioneer)

A VICAR’S wife detailed to a solicitor her history as a lecturer in asbestos-cladded and rat-infested temporary buildings before she died.

Her horrifying account was read at an inquest in Llandudno on Wednesday, April 29.

Gwyneth Bonnet, aged 60, whose husband Tom is vicar of Caerhun, near Conwy, died at her home in January after a battle against the asbestos-related disease malignant mesothelioma.

In a statement to lawyers Mrs Bonnet recalled how when she lectured in psychology at Coleg Menai, Llangefni, in the 1990s she operated in mobile and prefabricated classrooms which were dilapidated and whose walls and ceilings were infested with rats.

”We could hear the rats scampering in the ceiling,” she recalled.

“When rat poison was laid the bodies would attract flies and there would be damp patches showing through the ceiling where they had died.

“I did not think all the time I was working that I would later get sick."

In later years she travelled around several other colleges but she remembered specialist contractors being called in about 2003 or 2004 to demolish the buildings at Pencraig.

The statement by Mrs Bonnet, mother-of-three and grandmother, was read by coroner John Gittins.

Rev Tom Bonnet told the coroner that there had been a refusal by the authorities to provide evidence of what the situation had been.

Recording a conclusion that Mrs Bonnet died arising from an industrial disease Mr Gittins said evidence provided by her indicated that the exposure to asbestos would have occurred during her time at Pencraig.

Giving the family his condolences the coroner remarked : “I can only hope that medical science will make some progress by means of which this can be overcome.”

After the inquest Mr Bonnet said : “Men in ‘spacesuits’ were brought in to remove the asbestos from buildings in which my wife and students had been working.

“I would like the college to give us the evidence as to why it had gone on.

“We were looking forward to our retirement.”

A spokeswoman at Coleg Menai declined to comment.

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