Send us news by text, start your message Leigh News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Father and two children died in ‘extraordinary and catastrophic accident’
1:04pm Wednesday 25th September 2013 in News
A FATHER and his two young children died after a discarded crisp packet got lodged in a chimney and caused carbon monoxide to escape into their home.
Trevor Wallwork, aged 50, who emigrated from Leigh to Ireland several years ago, died at his home in Gurteen, County Sligo, Ireland, on December 18, 2011, with his daughter Kimberley, aged 12, and nine-year-old son Harry.
The family moved after Mr Wallwork divorced his first wife Donna Farrimond, the children’s mother, who still lives in Leigh, where Kimberley was born.
An inquest in Bolton on Tuesday heard how Mr Wallwork, Kimberley and Harry, as well as their dogs JJ and Lulu, died from carbon monoxide poisoning after the gas escaped into the sitting room, where the family was watching TV.
Coroner Alan Walsh said the case was one of the most tragic he has encountered in 12 years sitting as a coroner, but that it was nothing more than an ‘extraordinary and catastrophic accident’.
The chief fire officer for Sligo, Paul Coyle, told the inquest through a statement that he concluded a ‘coincidental and incredible’ set of circumstances were responsible for the deaths.
Their bodies were discovered by Mr Wallwork’s step-daughter Vikki Barnes at about 9.15pm after she had been unable to contact them.
Tragically her mother, Susan Wallwork, died in June 2012 from cancer, the condition she was in hospital receiving treatment for at the time.
None of the bodies showed any sign of smoke inhalation, making carbon monoxide poisoning the only possible cause of death.
After ruling out the boiler and central heating as the sources of the carbon monoxide, Mr Coyle looked at the coal fire in the sitting room.
He discovered it had been recently lit and that a multipack snack packet had become lodged in the chimney.
He surmised that it had been placed on the fire when it was cooling, which explained why it did not melt yet had enough upthrust from the flames to travel up the chimney where it became stuck.
The court heard how Ms Barnes, who lived near to Mr Wallwork with her partner and three children, discovered the bodies after her mother told her the family had not visited her in hospital that day.
Inspector Colm Nevin, who led the investigation, said police arrived at the cottage at 10.45pm after reports three bodies had been discovered.
Mr Walsh, the area coroner for Manchester West, who ruled the deaths were accidental, said: “As a father and grandfather I can only imagine what you all must be going through.
“I feel even more sorry that Susan Wallwork, who has of course now died herself, was never able to hear this evidence and know exactly how her husband and stepchildren came about their deaths.”
Arthur Flather, Mr Wallwork’s brother-in-law and spokesman for the family, many of whom still live in the area, including his mother and stepfather, said: “Trevor was totally devoted to his children and his wife and was a great dad.
“He was a barrel of fun and a much-loved uncle, brother and son. The children were gorgeous – their teachers in England and Ireland only ever said how well brought up they were.”
The family are pressing for the use of carbon monoxide detectors in homes to become compulsory.
Comments are closed on this article.