Years at pits caused death

Picture of  Malcolm Percy Newton''']
Picture of Malcolm Percy Newton''']

A retired coal miner who died as a result of his years down the pit has been described as “a hard-working family man”.

Malcolm Percy Newton, of Andrews Drive, Langley Mill, worked underground in the coal industry for almost 40 years.

He was admitted to the Royal Derby Hospital last year after falling at his home, but never left hospital and died 17 days later, on September 7, after an existing respiratory problem worsened.

An inquest at Derby and South Derbyshire Coroner’s Court concluded Mr Newton died as a result of industrial disease.

Deputy Coroner Louise Pinder said that the significant period of time Mr Newton spent exposed to coal dust led to pneumoconiosis, also known as miner’s lung, causing broncho-pneumonia, which ultimately killed him.

The family of 81-year-old Mr Newton – including his wife Barbara, his two sons and daughter – said in a statement: “He was a hard-working family man and a true working-class man, and it’s a shame that his hard work resulted in this. But he didn’t know that back then – nobody did.”

The inquest heard that Mr Newton, who was born in Ilkeston, started working for the National Coal Board in 1948 and immediately went to work underground.

He worked as a pit-face operative until 1985, moving around various collieries in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Speaking during the inquest, his son Ronald said: “He always went to work and wasn’t one who skived off. He was always working for the family. In his last few years I think he felt like he was on borrowed time. He felt that once he went into hospital, he wouldn’t come out – and it was true.”

Mr Newton had previously been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and it was thought that he suffered from pneumoconiosis, which was confirmed at post-mortem.

The inquest heard that the fall did not contribute to his death.