Gas victim used condemned boiler

MDL091230A2 - Stanley common the Brick Yard
MDL091230A2 - Stanley common the Brick Yard

A man who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in his rented home had reconnected its condemned boiler because the house was too cold.

Stephen Newton, 52, died in December 2009 in the house he rented with his partner Susan Davies at The Brickyard at Stanley Common.

At an inquest into his death this week, Mrs Davies said that the house’s boiler had been deemed ‘immediately dangerous’ and disconnected by an E.ON employee who had come round to change the gas meter in May 2008.

Mr Newton had reassured his partner that he would ‘sort it out’ but the boiler was not repaired or replaced by anyone hired by either the couple or landlady Dr Victoria Martindale, whom he said he had informed about the problem.

In October 2009 – 17 months later –Mr Newton actually reconnected the boiler himself when the weather was getting colder and the gas fire had also stopped working.

“I just tried to make him see that it needed checking out properly,” said Mrs Davies.

Over the next two months Mrs Davies said that she had felt unwell while inside the house, suffering from dizziness, light-headedness and deaf ness in one ear.

“I just put it down to the cold weather and winter illnesses,” she said.

On December 28, the couple had gone for a walk and a drink in a local pub before returning to the terraced house.

They had been sitting in the living room when Mrs Davies said she got up and went into the kitchen where she ‘just dropped onto the floor’.

She told the inquest that she lay on the floor, feeling ‘really calm’ but could not get up.

Mr Newton came in and told her to get up but she said she could not move.

“That’s the last thing I can remember,” she added.

The following day, the couple were found by two friends of Mr Newton, Gregory Longdon and Stephen Havill, who became concerned when they could not get hold of him.

They called round at the house and when nobody answered the door, peered through the kitchen window and saw the couple sitting in the living room.

When they continued not responding, Mr Longdon said they knew something was not right and they entered through the unlocked front door.

“We found Steve and Sue there on the settee,” said Mr Longdon.

An ambulance was called but Mr Newton was clearly already dead. “I felt for a pulse and as soon as I got hold of Steve’s hand, it was very, very cold,” said Mr Havill.

Mrs Davies was taken to the intensive care unit and kept in hospital for several days.

The inquest continues