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Gas fitter jailed over boiler death

A gas fitter wept as he was jailed for the manslaughter of a millionaire's daughter who died from carbon monoxide poisoning following his botched installation of a boiler.

Andrew Hartley, 37, fitted the new boiler into Zoe Anderson's Bath home less than two weeks before she was overcome by gas fumes.

He was handed a three-year prison sentence after being told it was "simply the price he must pay".

Judge Neil Ford QC said there were "absolutely no malicious or hostile intentions in this case" but the loss to Miss Anderson's family was "profound".

A jury at Bristol Crown Court found Hartley guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence by a majority of 10 to two following a two-week trial last month.

Hartley, of Bath New Road, Radstock, Somerset, had already admitted a charge of breaching gas safety regulations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by failing to secure the boiler flue pipe with screws. The family man appeared in court dressed in a purple shirt and tie and was supported by his wife and two friends.

As the judge read out the gas fitter's sentence Hartley wiped tears from his eyes and his face was visibly reddened.

Judge Ford said: "The quality of work fell below your normal high standards.

"There is no prospect at all of you committing further offences, this is simply the price that you must pay for an isolated but serious criminal offence."

Judge Ford sentenced Hartley to three years in prison for manslaughter by gross negligence and one year, to run concurrently, for breaching gas safety regulations. Hartley's wife sobbed from the public gallery as he was taken away to start his prison sentence.

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