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Plumber jailed for fitting fatal boiler

A STAFFORDSHIRE plumber has been jailed for 15 months after pleading guilty to the man-slaughter of 19-year-old Sonia Hyams.

The woman died after inhaling poisonous carbon monoxide fumes from a faulty gas boiler which had been fitted by 46-year-old Stuart Royle, a plumber from St George's Avenue in Wolstanton, Staffordshire.

The case, thought to be the first of its kind to result in a custodial sentence in Britain, was brought by Staffordshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive.

The court was told by Jonathan Gosling, prosecuting, that Royle was not qualified to fit boilers or heating appliances.

Landlord Peter Owen, 40, of Newcastle Road in Penkhull, Staffordshire, also pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was jailed for two years. The court heard he had never had the appliances tested.

Judge Clive Tayler appreciated that the manslaughter was with-out criminal intent, but he went on to say that he had no choice but to impose a custodial sentence because of the gravity of the results of their actions.