Landlord spared jail after carbon monoxide death

A Derbyshire landlord has been handed a suspended prison sentence for failing to maintain a faulty gas boiler that caused the death of a tenant from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dr Victoria Martindale, 39, was sentenced at Derby Crown Court for breaches of gas safety laws after she failed to arrange gas safety checks to be carried out at the property in Stanley Common, near Ilkeston, over a four-year period.

She was given a 16-month suspended sentence, handed a fine of £4,000 plus costs of £17,500 and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.

Stephen Newton, 51, was found dead in the property on 29 December 2009. His partner, Susan Davies and a neighbour also became ill due to carbon monoxide (CO) fumes but both recovered.

Dr Martindale was prosecuted following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

An earlier court hearing heard that before renting out the property, Dr Martindale employed a letting agency to find a tenant. The agency arranged for a gas safety check to be completed before the tenants moved in. However the agency was not employed to manage the tenancy and no further gas safety checks or servicing of the gas appliances were completed after Newton and Davies moved into the property in November 2005.

Despite being disconnected and labelled “dangerous” at one point, the boiler continued to be used and produced high levels of CO which affected both Dr Martindale's property and the houses on either side.