Court: Builders ‘left St John’s Wood boiler pumping carbon monoxide into flat’

12:41 27 November 2012

File picture: PA Wire

File picture: PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Two families had to be rushed to hospital after builders let a boiler pump carbon monoxide back into a flat, a court heard.

Workers on the council block in the Abbey Estate, off Abbey Road, St John’s Wood, covered over a chimney while renewing the felt covering on a flat roof, it was said.

Residents believed they were coming down with flu as they succumbed to the deadly gas. Within hours, two had collapsed and others were experiencing “severe symptoms” of carbon monoxide poisoning, the Old Bailey heard on Monday.

Apollo Property Services allegedly failed to protect residents from the “material risk” of carbon monoxide poisoning during their work on the block on March 17, 2008.

Apollo was the principle contractor on a complete refurbishment of the estate, and the low-rise Exonbury block was the first to be updated.

Prosecutor Claire Harden said: “In simple terms, they covered over where a chimney had been.

“When it was covered the boiler couldn’t work properly. There was nowhere for gases to escape, other than back into the flat.”

One of the affected residents woke at 1am “with a severe headache, the likes of which she hadn’t had before”, said Ms Harden.

“She went downstairs to get some painkillers and collapsed on the kitchen floor. Her husband was in the bathroom being unwell. Their son came down and tried to help her get up but she simply couldn’t.

“Her heart started racing and she was sweating. She thought she was having another heart attack.”

A family of four in a neighbouring flat also succumbed, even though they were not connected to the covered chimney.

Apollo Property Services, based in Waltham Abbey, Essex, deny failing to discharge a duty to non-employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The trial continues.

Latest News Stories

Conker champions from left are Albert 5, Addison 7, Trey 4. Picture: Dieter Perry

Just a few short years ago, the annual Hampstead Heath annual Conker Championships broke the Guinness World Record for the biggest ever knock-out conker tournament, when 395 people turned up.

Yesterday, 17:47
Pubs and clubs in London could face having to contribute to the costs of policing and cleaning the streets

Venues which stay open past midnight in Camden may find themselves charged a levy to cover the costs of policing and cleaning the night-time economy.

Yesterday, 16:30
Theo Seddon-Deane, who has cerebral palsy, with mother Catharine Seddon

Theo Seddon-Deane was born at just 26 weeks, weighing less than a bag of potatoes, and needed a ventilator just to keep him breathing.

Yesterday, 15:34
Christopher Matt

Detectives are hunting a convicted sex attacker who has disappeared while on licence from jail.

Yesterday, 13:57
Tom Franklin, Camden Green Party

The chairman of Camden’s Green Party branch has denied sitting down in front of a tank on its way to an arms fair.

Yesterday, 12:57
Pauline Cafferkey as she was discharged from the Royal Free in January

A Scottish nurse being treated at the Royal Free Hospital for a late complication of the Ebola virus is in a “serious condition”, the team treating her has said.

Yesterday, 12:57
New Wetherspoon pub opening in Muswell Hill

A controversial Wetherspoon pub is opening next week on Muswell Hill Broadway.

Yesterday, 12:26
Breda Athan helped treat three Ebola patients at the Royal Free

A senior nurse who led on the treatment of three Ebola patients at the Royal Free Hospital has been honoured at the Nursing Times Leaders awards 2015.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Angharad Baa Stool in Rare Breed.

Great British Life is offering a sheepskin footstool worth £199 to a lucky reader

You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder