Malcolm McLaren's partner reckons he was killed by asbestos poisoning from his shop.

Young Kim said the late Sex Pistols manager - who died last week of the rare form of cancer mesothelioma - was exposed to the deadly material through the fashion shop, SEX, which he set up with ex-partner, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood in 1974.

Young said: "When Malcolm created SEX he broke open the ceiling to make it look like a bomb had hit it.

"I always suspected that shop because it was the only place Malcolm ever really spent any serious length of time in, and there was a lot of construction and changing things.

"Then Ben Westwood said his mother had mentioned that she'd seen asbestos there. It was board asbestos and it was in the early Seventies so there was a lot of it left, and I don't think anyone really did anything about it."

Young also said she was very upset with doctors in England, who had failed to diagnose lung damage from asbestos for two years, until Malcolm was convinced he had cancer in January this year.

She said: "Malcolm was freaked out. He called me up from the doctor's office and said, 'Young, I have lung cancer, I have lung cancer', but the doctor said, 'Oh no, he's perfectly fine, he just has these spots, they're completely benign, you don't have to worry about it'. Then, just a few months later, his left lung had filled with fluid and he was diagnosed with mesothelioma."

Young added both she and doctors at the private clinic in Switzerland where Malcolm spent his final days were also shocked at how quickly he deteriorated.

She added: "He was very busy and very happy. Even in the past two weeks he'd been planning his work and a radio programme he was going to make for the BBC.

"It just happened so fast that even the doctors in Switzerland were shocked. They thought he would live a few months, and they were being conservative. But it was only a few weeks."