Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 8°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Suffolk: Heating engineer cleared of manslaughter

10:59 10 July 2014

Annette Coe who died of carbon monoxide poisoning

Annette Coe who died of carbon monoxide poisoning

A Suffolk heating engineer accused of killing a customer by failing to properly service their boiler has been cleared of manslaughter.

shares

Peter Sykes, 68, was found guilty on Tuesday of health and safety failings relating to work he carried out for Annette Coe, 72, who later died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Yesterday, following three days of deliberation, the jury at Norwich Crown Court found him not guilty of the more serious charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Mrs Coe, 72, the mother of William Coe who runs Coes stores in Suffolk and Essex, was found collapsed at her property in St Edmunds Road, Ipswich, on December 5, 2012 – 47 days after Sykes last serviced her oil-fired heating system. She was pronounced dead the following day.

William Carter, for the prosecution, had argued that Sykes’ failure to clear the flue during an annual inspection on October 19, 2012, caused a blockage, which resulted in “poisonous gas circulating around her home at fatal levels”.

“The defendant’s failure was grossly negligent to the extent, the crown alleges, that his actions amount to the criminal offence of manslaughter,” he said.

Two of Mrs Coe’s daughters, Sarah Licence and Bridget Coe, had raised the alarm on the evening of December 5, the court heard.

They became concerned after their mother, who lived alone, failed to answer the phone, and contacted William Coe, their brother, who arrived at the property at around 11pm.

He entered to find his mother lying unconscious on the floor and attempted resuscitation before paramedics took her to hospital.

Doctors described the level of carbon monoxide as “extremely high” and said nothing could be done. She died on December 6.

Sykes, of Castle Road, Hadleigh, insisted he had carried out a proper service in October and claimed it was also clean and operational when he returned on December 3 to fit a replacement solenoid coil.

The self-employed heating engineer, who had been servicing Mrs Coe’s boiler for more than 40 years, maintained that a sudden fracture with the heat exchanger – where fresh air meets heated air – had led to the blockage.

He said he followed a methodical routine from which he never deviated and would always check the flue and chimney for blockages.

“That would be the most important thing,” he said.

“It’s a case of life and I value life a lot more than just skipping and skiving on a routine.”

The jury, however, found him guilty under the Health and Safety at Work Act Section 3 (2) for failing to undertake his duty in such a way as to prevent exposing Mrs Coe to risks to her health and safety.

Sykes was also found guilty under the same act in respect to boiler inspections he carried out at Melvyn Smith’s property in Raydon and Mary Blyton’s gas heating system in Woodbridge.

He will return to court for sentencing at a later date.

shares

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Hundreds of flowers and messages have been placed on the fence around Thurston Community College after a pupil died from a shooting.

Thousands of pounds have been raised in the wake of the tragic death of a 13-year-old Thurston boy, with the Suffolk community rallying together to support the family.

Hollesley Bay Colony

A war of words has broken out amid allegations of a ‘disgraceful coup’ aimed at ousting the chairman of Hollesley Bay open prison’s Independent Monitoring Board.

Around 40 pupils and 20 parents, from Little Bealings Primary School, went on strike today over SATs exams.They decided to take learning outside and into Playford woods.

Education chiefs have criticised parents who took their children out of school today as part of a national protest against SATS exams.

Views of Halesworth ,Suffolk.

A prank which saw fake out of order stickers placed onto payment machines in a north Suffolk car park last week could have lost Waveney District Council revenue.

The team behind the building of the new Woolverstone Macmillan cancer centre at Ipswich Hospital celebrate reaching another milestone in the appeal. 
Jess Watkins, Kate Ashton, Sharon Austin, Mike Durrant, Joy Moulton, Jan Ingle, Ellie Ball, 
Pauline Meadows, Cheryl Thayer, Gill Heard, Helen Glenholmes and Mandy Jordan.

A brand new cancer centre opening in Ipswich soon has been boosted by a fundraising campaign which has raised more than a third of its £3.7million target in just 18 months.

Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Constable of Essex Police; Matt Scannnell, Home Fire Safety Technician; Kim Speed, volunteer; Bill Roberts, volunteer; Angie Pearson, Essex Police Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor; Acting Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley

Volunteers will be used to provide fire and crime prevention advice in communities across Essex as a trial scheme is extended.

GV of the appeal site for 175 homes in Stowupland.

The character of a Suffolk village will be changed forever if a development for 175 homes goes ahead, a public inquiry has heard.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24