War veteran killed by children's prank: Open verdict on pensioner who was taunted by gang

A WAR veteran was asphyxiated in his house after children blocked his chimney pot with a piece of wood in a 'prank that went wrong', an inquest was told yesterday.

John Logan, 73, of Maryport, Cumbria, who lost an arm at the Battle of Arnhem during the Second World War, was called 'Bandit' by a gang of children who harassed and taunted him.

On previous occasions, some of them had climbed on to his roof and put wood on the chimney, laughing when he ran out with a smoke-blackened face to chase them away. But on the day Mr Logan died, last May, the wood prevented fumes escaping and he suffered asphyxia due to carbon monoxide poisoning, the inquest at Workington in Cumbria was told.

John Taylor, the deputy coroner of west Cumbria, said the children involved were below the age of criminal responsibility. The boy who put the wood on the chimney, blocking it, was nine years old.

'I don't think for a minute that the boy meant any harm. He was involved in a game of play with the hope that Mr Logan would come out and chase him,' Mr Taylor said. He recorded an open verdict, describing the incident as 'a child's prank that went wrong'.

The inquest was told that the children threw stones at Mr Logan's house so often that at one time all his windows were boarded up. His war medals and his Parachute Regiment beret were stolen, and a fire investigator, John Ward, said the interior of the house was coated with soot, probably as a result of the chimney pranks.

Mr Logan was found dead in a chair by the fire when police broke in three days after he had last been seen. A bottle of whisky was found by his side. A post- mortem examination found 335mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, more than four times the legal driving limit. The carbon monoxide saturation of 73 per cent was described as lethal.

Police officers questioned several children and a file was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service, but it was found there was insufficient evidence to start court proceedings against them.

A police statement by the boy who put the final piece of wood over the chimney was read out at the inquest. He had said: 'I saw another boy climb on to the Bandit's roof and put a piece of wood on his chimney to see if he would come out with soot on his face and chase us with a poker. He came out and shouted at him, but afterwards I went up and put another piece of wood in place of the other. My dad shouted at me and my mam grounded me.'

Mr Logan's eldest daughter, Hazel Holdaway, of Gravesend, Kent, said the verdict was 'disgusting . . .I think the law is all wrong. I am going to take legal advice to see if further action can be taken. The law has to be changed, otherwise how else can we stop them doing it again?'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This publishing company based i...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor