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Andrew Hartley, Gas Fitter Whose Botched Work Led To Girl's Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Jailed

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Andrew Hartley leaving court with his wife last year
Andrew Hartley leaving court with his wife last year

A gas fitter wept today 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 today 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: "On the 16th December you installed a new gas boiler at Sion Hill, a property owned by Chris Anderson and used from time to time by his daughter Zoe Anderson.

"On 28th December Zoe was overcome by carbon monoxide in the shower room and tragically died.

"Zoe was a young and talented woman with a fruitful life ahead of her.

"The quality of work fell below your normal high standards.

"You knew the potential dangers of a carbon monoxide leak and leaving the flue unconnected created a clearly foreseeable risk to life and, as the jury found, amounted to criminal negligence.

"You were qualified, your record of work in the field was long and good. You are a wholly respectable man.

"Your sense of guilt can properly be characterised as overwhelming.

"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.

During the trial the court heard that Miss Anderson, 24, the daughter of magazine tycoon Chris Anderson, was found dead by her boyfriend in the shower room of her father's home in Sion Hill - one of Bath's most exclusive streets - on 29 December, 2010.

At first it was thought the neuroscience graduate had slipped and banged her head, but later it was found she had collapsed from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Miss Anderson died within just 30 minutes of being exposed to the carbon monoxide after fumes leaked from the flue pipe connected to the boiler in the garage of the Victorian townhouse.

Hartley - who has been in the gas and plumbing industry for 20 years and had an unblemished career - was said by colleagues, acquaintances and friends to be reliable, professional and trustworthy.