Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Man bailed in explosion inquiry

Jamie Heaton, two, died in a suspected gas explosion in Oldham
A police officer places flowers close to the scene of the explosion in Buckley Street
Emergency workers at the scene of the blast in the Shaw area of Oldham

A man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter over a gas blast which killed a two-year-old boy has been released on bail.

The 32-year-old from the Shaw area of Oldham was held in London on Wednesday and was taken to Manchester for questioning in connection with Tuesday's massive explosion.

Police said they understood the suspect may have done some boiler maintenance work at one of the houses in Buckley Street, Oldham.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said:" A 32-year-old man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter has been bailed until August 9 pending further inquiries."

Two-year-old Jamie Heaton was killed and neighbour Andrew Partington, 27, suffered serious burns as the blast flattened their homes and damaged scores of other houses. Jamie was killed while watching TV in his home but his mother miraculously survived after stepping out to hang out washing in the yard.

Local reports suggest there was a problem with the boiler at Mr Partington's home in the days and weeks before the explosion.

Police have also said they are investigating reports of a row involving the injured man and his partner, mother-of-five Tanya Williamson, who left the family home with her children before the blast.

Senior police have stressed that the arrest was only one line of inquiry.

Steve Heywood, Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, said they have yet to establish the exact cause of the explosion and their approach was to "assume nothing, believe no first account and check everything".

He added that officers still have "significant questions" for Mr Partington, who remains unconscious and sedated in Wythenshawe Hospital. He confirmed that recently Mr Partington was arrested and given a conditional discharge in court for common assault following a domestic incident at his home.

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