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Landlord prosecuted for endangering lives

17-08-2012

A landlord has been handed a suspended jail sentence for endangering lives after a mother, her partner and her eight-year-old daughter were poisoned by carbon monoxide at a flat in Lewisham.

Gail Calvert, her partner Stephen Clayden and the young girl inhaled large quantities of the deadly gas in a ground floor property on Iona Close, Catford, on 20 November 2011. They were saved from further harm after a carbon monoxide alarm sounded in a flat above them but they needed hospitalisation for overnight treatment.

On 15 August, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that the source of the leak was a faulty gas boiler in their flat, which they rented from David MacDonald. The spread of the carbon monoxide led to the flats being evacuated by London Fire Brigade and the gas supply to the flats being disconnected by Southern Gas Networks.

The landlord had a legal duty of care to maintain the appliance and ensure it was checked and certified at least once a year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. However, an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed evidence of poor maintenance and demonstrated the boiler was emitting high levels of carbon monoxide.

David Francis MacDonald, of The Peabody Estate, Camberwell Green, had earlier pleaded guilty to two separate breaches of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 for ignoring his responsibilities. He was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 200 hours' community service and ordered to pay £8,211 in costs.

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