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Mother and daughter die from poisoning on boat after boyfriend installed faulty exhaust system

By Mason White 8:51 AM November 18, 2015
Kelly Webster and Lauren Thornton 

By: Tanya Malhotra
A man was arrested on a charge of manslaughter after installing a faulty exhaust system on their boat, resulting in the death of his girlfriend and her daughter, police in the United Kingdom said.

Now, 42-year-old Matthew Eteson of Preston, has been sentenced to serve two years in jail, which was suspended for two years, after being found guilty of manslaughter in connection with the deaths of 35-year-old Kelly Webster and 10-year-old Lauren Thornton.

According to the police investigation, Webster and Thornton were found dead in the sleeping compartment on board Eteson’s boat on Lake Windermere.

The cause of death was poisoning by carbon monoxide from the exhaust system of a generator, which Eteson had installed on board.

Eteson was a registered and experienced installer. He fabricated an exhaust system for the generator and used the generator to power a fan heater in the passenger quarters.

The exhaust system was poorly designed and poorly constructed, using unsuitable materials. The generator was not secured or anchored to the floor and the joints in the exhaust pipework were very poorly fabricated.

The temperatures caused the pipework to fail as soft soldered joints melted, and as a result, the exhaust gases containing carbon monoxide were discharged into the boat.

In addition to this very poor standard of work, he neglected to test this system in the circumstances and under the electrical load for which he intended to use it, and he also knew that the carbon monoxide detectors on the boat had been disabled.

Tragically, the poor design and construction of the work he carried out on the exhaust system, led to the deaths of Webster and Thornton.

The court heard that Webster and Thornton, lost their lives because of his gross negligence and the obvious dangers that he created. They therefore found him criminally responsible for their deaths.