Mould played a part in the death of a young man who lived in a house that his family claimed was plagued by damp, a pathologist has said.
Luke Brooks, 27, died last October from acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Dr Abdul Ganjifrockwala told an inquest in Rochdale on Tuesday this was caused by aspergillus pneumonia – a type of mould which he found in Mr Brooks’ lungs during a post-mortem examination.
It comes after Mr Brooks’ mother, Patricia Brooks, told senior coroner Joanne Kearsley, that the house they shared with a friend and Luke’s cousin in Oldham, Greater Manchester, had a number of problems from when they moved in, in 2014, including a lack of heating, a leaking roof and issues with mould.
Mr Brooks developed a cough, rash and sore throat before his death
Dr Ganjifrockwala was asked whether it was possible to contract pneumonia by other means – even if the fungus was present.
He said it was possible, but on the balance of probabilities, and the “presence of organisms”, he thought the aspergillus was the cause in this case.
“Had the organisms not been present, this would be bog-standard bronchial pneumonia,” he said.
Mr Brooks died in his bedroom after his condition deteriorated in just six days after he developed symptoms such as a cough, rash and sore throat.
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Dr Ganjifrockwala said it was possible these symptoms were evidence of a viral infection, which “could have made his lungs more susceptible to the development of aspergillus infection”. But that he thought aspergillus had a part in Mr Brooks’ death.
He admitted his post-mortem findings originally included “heavily mould-infested accommodation” as a further factor contributing to the cause of death.
But agreed with Ms Kearsley that he had now deferred this conclusion to other experts.
Mr Brooks’ parents have blamed the damp property where they lived for their son’s death.
Yesterday, Mrs Brooks described how their private landlord did not rectify the multiple problems in the property and that she begged the council for alternative accommodation.
When asked by her barrister what she said to Oldham Council, she replied: “For God’s sake, will you please get us out of that house before someone dies.
“And, a couple of months later, somebody did, because it nearly killed me in 2019. I’m lucky to be here now.”
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Ms Kearsley is the same coroner who ruled last year two-year-old Awaab Ishak died in Rochdale from a respiratory condition caused by mould at his home.