Son of man killed by gas poisoning in bedsit calls justice system ‘a joke’

Stuart Cummins, son of Ray Iley, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a defective boiler at the Albert Guest House, in Shotton Colliery
Stuart Cummins, son of Ray Iley, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a defective boiler at the Albert Guest House, in Shotton Colliery

THE grieving son of a man killed through carbon monoxide poisoning in his bedsit says he wants someone to be held responsible for his dad’s death.

Ray Iley’s son Stuart Cummins is still searching for answers after Kaiser Choudry, landlord of Shotton’s Albert Guest House where Mr Iley was found dead beside his beloved pet budgies, was ruled not to blame for the granddad’s death.

Stuart, 27, from Easington Colliery, said he is looking into how he can go about a review of the sentence.

The plaster and dad-of-three added: “I’m absolutely fuming with the outcome.

“I don’t feel like any justice has been done for my dad whatsoever.

“The whole system is a joke,

“I honestly don’t understand how the landlord can plead guilty to two offences and get off with a fine when my dad’s dead,”

At an inquest in June last year, Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle recorded a narrative verdict that Mr Iley died from carbon monoxide poisoning on January 4, 2011, due to “the deadly gas emanating from a defective central heating gas boiler system in the cellar of the property”.

The inquest was adjourned in March 2012 so Mr Tweddle could refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider whether to bring criminal charges.

Steven Orange, district Crown prosecutor for CPS North East said this week: “The CPS were asked to consider whether any criminal charges could be brought against Kaiser Choudry in relation to the tragic death of Ray Iley at his home in January 2011.

“While the police investigation did uncover evidence of faults in the boiler, most likely due to improper installation and neglected maintenance, it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt that they had in fact produced the fatal level of carbon monoxide detected in Mr Iley’s blood.

“For this reason, the CPS advised that no criminal charges could be brought against Mr Choudry in relation to Mr Iley’s death.

“The decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and after careful consideration of all available evidence.”

The evidence was passed on to Durham County Council to investigate whether health and safety regulations had been breached.

During a hearing at Consett Magistrates’ Court last week, justices decided Choudry did not cause the death of the former Easington miner even though the boiler in his property was leaking carbon monoxide and had not been serviced for two years.

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. Last 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.

The bench ordered Choudry to pay £6,030.75 in fines and costs at £100 per week.

Joanne Waller, of the council, said: “Failure to carry out routine checks can have tragic consequences.”