Court told poor work led to carbon monoxide death
‘Sub-standard and badly-managed work’ contributed to the death of a young woman who died after being overcome by carbon monoxide fumes, a court heard today.
Elouise Littlewood was 26 when she died in the flat she owned with Notting Hill Housing Trust in Bedfont Lakes, Hounslow, in February 2008. A post-mortem carried out on the body found the concentration of carbon monoxide in her blood was 77 per cent.
Her lodger, Simon Kilby, was left with permanent brain damage when he was found unconscious on the sofa.
Plumber Paul Williamson, who was responsible for checking the boiler and flue in the Ms Littlewood’s flat, appeared in court today accused of manslaughter and grievous bodily harm.
Malden Plumbing and Heating Ltd is also charged with breaching the Health and Safety Act 1974. The company was sub-contracted by Barratt Homes to do the plumbing and heating on the development.
The company is accused of failing in its duty to protect non-employees from risk, which in this case was caused by ‘sub-standard and badly-managed work’, the court heard.
Prosecutor Edward Brown QC said: ‘[Mr Williamson’s] job was to examine the boiler and flue and he certified that the boiler and flue were safe to use.
‘[Mr Williamson] told police that when he saw the work that had previously been carried out by Malden Plumbing he concluded it had been installed properly and professionally by Malden Plumbing, but he noted he couldn’t inspect the flue properly because access panels had not been fitted.’
An examination of the boiler system after Ms Littlewood’s death revealed a number of problems with joins in the flue pipes and ventilation. The jury was shown a number of police photographs of the faulty pipes.
Both victims had complained of feeling unwell in the weeks before Ms Littlewood’s death.
The case continues.