London

Gas fitter cleared of carbon monoxide death of Elouise Littlewood

A gas fitter accused of manslaughter over the death of a woman from carbon monoxide poisoning at her west London home has been acquitted.

Elouise Littlewood, 26, was found dead in the bathroom of her flat in Bedfont in February 2008. Her lodger Simon Kilby, then 32, remains unconscious.

Paul Williamson, 53, of Sutton, was cleared of manslaughter by gross negligence by an Old Bailey jury.

He was also found not guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Kilby.

The gas fitter's employer, Malden Plumbing and Heating Limited, was also cleared of failing in its duty to protect non-employees from risk.

Family shocked

Mr Williamson, of Chaucer Gardens, who inspected the boiler to certify the flue as safe, told the court that the flue must have become disconnected on the day of the incident.

The levels of carbon monoxide in the flat were found to be 800 to 900 times what they would normally be when the pair were found, the court heard.

Mr Kilby was found unconscious in the living room and remains unable to speak, move, eat or breathe without the aid of machines, the court heard.

Ms Littlewood, an NVQ assessor for childcare workers, was studying for an Open University degree in childcare and also taught dance. She part-owned and part-rented the newly-built flat.

Ms Littlewood's mother Sally-Anne Littlewood said: "A bright light had gone out.

"I was here at home, and (my husband) Alan said to me on the phone 'someone will be round to explain what's going on'.

"I knew then, I just threw my phone down."

The family now want to raise awareness about the issue, Mr Littlewood said.

He said: "I never knew how bad it was, how it actually does kill people.

"People think 'I haven't got an old boiler' but it can happen in a brand new place, that was a shock to us."

Judge Richard Hone QC said it was "a terrible case for the family".

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