WHEN she was a little girl, Bessie Peel loved to play near her Cleckheaton home.

She and her young friends excitedly played in the cobbled streets alongside the old BBA factory, which made vehicle brake linings.

But those childhood pastimes were to claim her life - 70 years later.

Bessie told nephews and nieces how she and her friends made "snowballs" with the white dust that had fallen into the streets - little knowing it was deadly asbestos dust.

And yesterday, a coroner heard the tragic tale of how the dust claimed her life seven decades later.

Mrs Peel was 84 when she died on December 12, 2004 of malignant mesothelioma - a tumour around the lungs caused by breathing in asbestos fibres.

An inquest at Huddersfield yesterday heard that Mrs Peel's only known contact with the substance was when she was a child living in Whitechapel Road, Cleckheaton.

Deputy coroner Mark Hinchcliffe said: "Development of disease caused by asbestos can take years, but I have never come across a case where it has taken over 70 years.

"I can't say when or how Mrs Peel came into contact with asbestos, but it is more than likely that at some stage she did so because malignant mesothelioma hardly ever occurs unless such exposure has taken place.

"She did live close to the BBA factory.

"It's possible that at a time when no-one appreciated the risks of asbestos that small amounts of it were dumped or left in accessible places."

Mrs Peel lived in Cleckheaton and Liversedge all her life.

She lived at Valley Road in Cleckheaton until the summer of 2004, when she moved to Batley Hall Care Home at Old Hall Road in Batley.

She was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in May 2004.

Her condition deteriorated until she died on December 9 at Dewsbury District Hospital.

A post mortem showed the tumour had surrounded her heart and respiratory system, causing her left lung to collapse and her right lung to become congested.

The deputy coroner recorded a verdict of death from industrial disease.