Surrey

Zane Gbangbola: Flood death caused by carbon monoxide poisoning

Zane Gbangbola Image copyright Total Eco Management Ltd
Image caption Zane Gbangbola died at his family home in Chertsey during the severe winter floods of 2014

The death of a boy was an accident as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from a petrol pump brought in to get rid of floodwater, a coroner has said.

Zane Gbangbola, aged seven, died in hospital in Surrey in February 2014.

His parents had disputed post-mortem tests that found he died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to the pump.

They believed hydrogen cyanide fumes had been released from a lake built over a former landfill site. The family now wants an independent inquiry.

They have spent two-and-half years campaigning for a further investigation.

Delivering his verdict at an inquest in Woking, coroner Richard Travers said: "I find the cause of death was carbon monoxide toxicity from fumes generated by a petrol pump used by his family to clear the house of floodwater."

Image caption Zane's parents had disputed the post-mortem results

The inquest heard the boy's parents hired a petrol pump to clear water in their basement, which was used for up to six hours on the day he died and pumped deadly fumes into Zane's bedroom while he slept.

Zane was found unconscious in the early hours by his mother, Nicole Lawler, and pronounced dead an hour later in hospital.

Zane's father Kye Gbangbola, who had been working upstairs in another bedroom, was left paralysed and wheelchair-bound as a result of the incident.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Protesters had called for an inquiry into Zane Gbangbola's death

Ms Lawler and Mr Gbangbola left the courtroom as Mr Travers disputed their evidence.

He said: "I have no hesitation that Ms Lawler and Mr Gbangbola did not want the pump to be working when Zane went to bed.

"But I cannot accept their accounts that on February 7 it [the pump] was used for no more than 20 minutes and not after lunchtime... I find it was used for six hours and stopped at 6.30pm, presumably when it ran out of fuel."

After the hearing, Ms Lawler said the inquest was "legally and evidentially deficient" and the family would request an independent, panel-led inquiry similar to the Hillsborough inquests.

"At the top of this is a deeply-loved boy. A very special little boy. The world is a much poorer place without Zane," she said.

Surrey Police said no criminal charges would be brought over the boy's death.

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