28/11/2012 11:38 GMT | Updated 28/11/2012 11:38 GMT

Oldham Gas Explosion Defendant Andrew Partington Admits Killing Toddler Jamie Heaton In Blast

A man has admitted killing a two-year-old boy after he cut the gas pipes in his house causing a massive explosion.

Andrew Partington, 27, an unemployed father-of-six, let his house in Shaw, Oldham, fill with gas overnight.

The ensuing explosion "obliterated" Partington's rented terrace house and two neighbouring homes, with the rest of the row and surrounding streets also left devastated.

oldham explosion

The scene was described as looking like a war zone by residents

Next door Jamie Heaton, described by his family as a "happy, loving little boy", had been watching children's TV in the lounge, with his father Kenny out at work and mother Michelle doing housework.

Shocked neighbours searched the wreckage, finding the youngster's body in the debris.

Partington, who was seriously injured in the incident, appeared at Manchester Crown Court by videolink from jail today.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and eight charges of destroying neighbouring houses in the blast on Buckley Street, Shaw, Oldham, on June 26.

shaw explosion

A view of the street after the blast

The boy's parents, Mr and Mrs Heaton, sat in the public gallery holding hands for the brief hearing.

They were flanked by police officers and other members of their family, who wiped away tears as the defendant admitted his guilt.

Partington spoke only to confirm his name and that he could hear proccedings by video link from HMP Forest Bank in Salford.

Partington, who wore a white T-shirt covered by a light blue bib, kept his head down for most of the hearing.

The defendant was asked to enter his pleas to the charges and answered "guilty" to each one, the single count of manslaughter and the eight charges of destroying property - the houses on Buckley Street in Shaw, numbers 9, 11, 1, 3, 5, 7, 13 and 15.

Partington was told by Judge Andrew Gilbart QC that there was only one possible sentence for such offences - jail - and he remanded Partington in custody until February 11 when he will be sentenced.