A CIRENCESTER headteacher died because he was regularly exposed to asbestos at the schools where he worked during his career, an inquest has heard.

David MacDonald, who led Amberley Ridge School in Stroud, died on July 2 last year, Gloucester Coroner's Court heard After he was diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in August 2011, the 57-year-old made a statement outlining his career and the places where he came into contact with the deadly substance.

They included Amberley Ridge as well as Chiltern Gate School at High Wycombe and Warnham Court School in West Sussex.

The father-of-three, of Chesterton Lane, Cirencester, had first come into contact with asbestos while working at Warnham Court School near Horsham where pipes were lagged with asbestos which were damaged when work was carried out on a boiler. The material had also been identified in a camping store.

He became deputy head of Chiltern Gate School, which also contained asbestos, before being appointed headteacher of Amberley Ridge.

At Amberley Ridge he reported asbestos in the boiler room and remembered being completely covered in asbestos dust as he was present when it was removed.

He later started suffering from lethargy and was then admitted to hospital with a collapsed lung. After being treated he was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma.

Specialist consultant Dr Robin Rudd told the inquest at the Gloucestershire Coroners Court in Gloucester that mesothelioma without asbestos exposure was one case in a million but he said Mr MacDonald's occupational history confirmed his exposure.

"Each of his employments increased the risk that he would develop it," he added.

A post mortem carried out by consultant pathologist Dr Preti Joshi found a very low level of asbestos fibres in Mr MacDonald’s lungs.

But she said such low levels could occur in those exposed to asbestos many years before death and still be linked to the cause of death.

Summing up, Gloucestershire Assistant Deputy Coroner Katy Skerrett said she was satisfied Mr MacDonald's exposure to asbestos had caused the mesothelioma and recorded a a verdict of death from industrial disease.