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Landlord prosecuted for carbon monoxide poisoning

A landlord has been handed a suspended jail sentence for endangering lives after a mother, her partner and her eight-year-old daughter were poisoned by carbon monoxide at a flat in Lewisham.

Gail Calvert, her partner Stephen Clayden and the young girl inhaled large quantities of the deadly gas in a ground floor property on 20 November 2011.

They were saved from further harm after a carbon monoxide alarm sounded in a flat above them but they needed hospitalisation for overnight treatment.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that the source of the leak was a faulty gas boiler in their flat, which they rented from David Francis MacDonald.

The spread of the carbon monoxide led to the flats being evacuated by London Fire Brigade and the gas supply to the flats being disconnected by Southern Gas Networks.

Mr MacDonald was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 200 hours’ community service and ordered to pay £8,211 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector Kevin Shorten said: “Carbon monoxide can kill quickly without warning and approximately 20 people die each year as a result of poisoning from gas appliances and flues that haven’t been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated.

“Had a neighbour’s carbon monoxide alarm not sounded, the family could well be amongst that number.”