Gas fitter guilty of fumes death


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The Independent Online

A gas fitter was convicted today of the manslaughter of a millionaire's daughter who died from carbon monoxide poisoning following the botched installation of a boiler.

Andrew Hartley, 37, fitted the new boiler into Zoe Anderson's home less than two weeks before she was overcome by gas fumes. A jury at Bristol Crown Court found Hartley guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence by a majority of 10 to two following a two-week trial.

He had already admitted a charge of breaching gas safety regulations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by failing to secure the boiler flue pipe with screws.

Judge Neil Ford QC, The Recorder of Bristol, released Hartley, of Bath New Road, Radstock, Somerset, on bail for the preperation of reports until sentencing in April.

During the trial the court heard that Miss Anderson, 24, the daughter of magazine tycoon Chris Anderson, was found dead by her boyfriend in the shower room of her father's home in Sion Hill - one of Bath's most exclusive streets - on December 29 2010.

At first it was thought the neuroscience graduate had slipped and banged her head, but later it was found she had collapsed from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The prosecution said Hartley - who was paid more than £2,000 - did a "rushed" and "botch" job, failing to secure the flue pipe correctly, if at all.

Detective Inspector Neil Beament, who led the investigation, said: "This is a tragic, tragic case. Andrew Hartley is a professional tradesman with all the relevant qualifications.

"His substandard work has led to the death of Zoe Anderson, a young woman with a very bright future.

"The verdict reflects the severity of his failings and sends a clear message to all tradesmen in relation to the duty of care they owe all their customers."