Man admits causing death of toddler and destroying eight houses after he cut gas pipes

Andrew Partington, 27, an unemployed father-of-six, pleaded guilty to manslaughter via videolink at Manchester Crown Court

A man has admitted causing the death of a toddler and destroying eight homes in Greater Manchester after he cut the gas pipes in his house causing a huge explosion.

Andrew Partington, 27, an unemployed father-of-six, pleaded guilty to manslaughter via videolink at Manchester Crown Court.

He also admitted causing £1.2m damage to the houses.

Mr Partington let his house in Shaw, Oldham, fill with gas overnight.

Two-year-old Jamie Heaton, who was in a house next door, was killed as he watched children's TV in the lounge.

His father was out at work at the time, and his mother was doing housework.

The explosion "obliterated" Partington's rented terrace house and the two neighbouring homes, with the rest of the row and surrounding streets also left devastated.

Neighbours found the body of the toddler, who was described as a "happy, loving little boy", as they searched through the wreckage of the house on Buckley Street, Shaw.

The boy's parents, Mr and Mrs Heaton, sat in the public gallery holding hands for the brief hearing.

They were flanked by police officers and other members of their family.

The defendant was asked to enter his pleas to the charges and answered "guilty" to each one, the single count of manslaughter and the eight charges of destroying property - the houses on Buckley Street in Shaw, numbers 9, 11, 1, 3, 5, 7, 13 and 15.

Partington was told by Judge Andrew Gilbart QC that there was only one possible sentence for such offences - jail - and he remanded Partington in custody until February 11 when he will be sentenced.

Judge Gilbart also ordered a psychological assessment of Partington before he is sentenced, to assess his dangerousness.

Adam Roxborough, defending, added that Partington was still suffering physical difficulties in his movement from injuries sustained in the explosion.

Remanding Partington into custody, Judge Gilbart told him: "There is only one possible sentence in this case, a custodial sentence.

"It is likely to be determined by the High Court judge who deals with it on February 11."

Partington replied: "Thanks very much your Lordship."