Search

Gas blunder engineer forgiven

PUBLISHED: 12:08 01 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:44 02 March 2010

A FATHER said he has forgiven a gas engineer whose work on a boiler endangered his family's lives.

Richard Thurston spoke after former British Gas engineer Michael Jessup was given a conditional discharge at Ipswich Crown Court after admitting breaking health and safety regulations.

A FATHER said he has forgiven a gas engineer whose work on a boiler endangered his family's lives.

Richard Thurston spoke after former British Gas engineer Michael Jessup was given a conditional discharge at Ipswich Crown Court after admitting breaking health and safety regulations.

Jessup had carried out an annual service on a boiler belonging to the Thurston family at their home in Sproughton, the court heard.

During the two weeks following the service Mrs Sheena Thurston felt unwell and suffered headaches. Her daughter Claire, four, was also unwell but when a doctor was called he could find nothing wrong with them, said Simon Taylor prosecuting.

Mr Thurston said: "He (Jessup) has voluntarily given up his job. He was distraught and beside himself that he had made such an error.

"We are not vindictive people. He has just made an unfortunate mistake at work.

"The consequences could have been a lot worse but all said and done they were not. We are happy about that. He is remorseful, and is a nice and genuine bloke. As long as he doesn't do it to anyone else, we are not out for blood.

"We have forgiven him for what happened. It would not benefit us in anyway if he was fined thousands of pounds."

The court heard that all four members of the family were found to have levels of carbon monoxide with Mrs Thurston having 32 per cent, Claire 10pc, Jack 8pc and Mr Thurston 6pc. The family was discharged from hospital the following day.

A level of 40 to 50 per cent would result in rapid heart rate, shortness of breath and fainting, the court heard.

Jessup, 57, of Larchcroft Road, Ipswich had admitted an offence under health and safety regulations and was committed to the Crown Court for sentence by Ipswich Magistrates.

Judge David Goodin imposed a 12-month conditional discharge on Jessup and ordered him to pay £400 costs after hearing that he had given up his job as a result of the incident and was now unemployed.

He said Jessup was of previous good character and acknowledged that after an exemplary career in the gas industry it would have caused him great distress to find himself before a court.

The judge made no order for compensation after hearing that the Thurston's were pursuing a negligence claim in the Civil Court.

Mr Taylor said that an investigation into what had happened revealed that Jessup had failed to properly secure screws in the front casing of the boiler and had also failed to check the effectiveness of the flue.

He said that at the time Jessup had been working part-time for Mills Heating to supplement his pension from British Gas and as a result of the prosecution Jessup would have his Corgi Registration rescinded.

Simon Spence, for Jessup, said his client had worked as a gas fitter for many years and until this case had worked "effectively and safely". As a result of what had happened he had chosen to give up his career.

"He considered that unless he can be sure of himself and that he can do his job 100 per cent safely it is a job he should not do. He is at a loss to say why he didn't tighten two out of the four screws," said Mr Spence.

He said Jessup wished to apologise to the Thurston family and was mortified at the illness he had caused.

N Have you ever suffered a similar experience? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star