THE family of a man killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in his bedsit have branded justice a farce after a court ruled the landlord of the property is not responsible for his death.
Ray Iley was found dead at the Albert Guest House in Shotton Colliery beside 20 of his pet budgies on January 4, 2011.
Consett Magistrates decided guest house owner Kaiser Choudry did not cause the death even though the boiler in his property was leaking carbon monoxide and had not been serviced for two years.
After hearing a day of expert evidence, bench chairwoman Carol Cliffe said: “Although the boiler in the basement was faulty, and there were holes in the basement ceiling under the floor of Mr Iley’s room, there is no evidence the boiler emitted high levels of carbon monoxide.
“There is also no evidence the fumes migrated to the other rooms.
“Accordingly we find in favour of the defendant.”
Choudry, 48, of Atkinson Grove, Shotton Colliery, admitted failing as a landlord to ensure a boiler and flue were maintained in safe condition so as to prevent risk of injury.
He admitted a second charge of failing to carry out landlord’s safety checks. This week’s hearing was to determine his level of guilt.
The court was told a faulty flue caused the boiler to emit seven parts per million of carbon monoxide, which is not a fatal concentration.
Mr Iley’s body was found to contain 600 parts per million.
Chris Morrison, for Choudry, said: “Mr Choudry does not have to prove by what alternative method the high concentration of carbon monoxide accumulated in Mr Iley.
“Mr Choudry merely has to establish there is a reasonable doubt it was the boiler.”
The bench ordered Choudry to pay £6,030.75 in fines and costs at £100 per week.
Speaking after the case, Mr Iley’s brother, Brian, 58, said: “We regard that as a farcical judgement.
“The family has been badly let down by the court and this will cause a lot more heartache and distress.”