Sep 10 2012
A man has appeared in court charged with the manslaughter of a two-year-old boy in a suspected gas explosion which flattened a number of homes.
Jamie Heaton died in the blast while watching TV in his home in Shaw, Oldham, on June 26.
Andrew Partington, 27, who was injured in the incident, has been charged with manslaughter and causing criminal damage worth more than £1 million and appeared at Oldham Magistrates' Court.
Partington suffered 40% burns and a broken back in the explosion in Buckley Street and was recently brought out of a coma at the hospital where he was treated.
Partington, who had a bandaged left arm, a bandaged right hand and appeared to be wearing a back-brace, came into the dock with difficulty and was helped to sit down by two police officers who remained with him during the hearing. He spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address.
Partington was remanded in custody and will appear at Manchester Crown Square Crown Court on Tuesday.
The seat of the blast was at his rented terrace house, which was next door to the home of Jamie and his parents, Kenny and Michelle. Following Jamie's death, his parents paid tribute to "our little man" who was "a happy little boy, mischievous and full of laughter".
Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS north west area Nazir Afzal said: "I would like to express my sympathy to Mr and Mrs Heaton on their tragic loss.
"After considering the evidence, I am satisfied there is sufficient to charge Andrew Partington with manslaughter and criminal damage. The decision was taken in accordance with the code for crown prosecutors."
A 32-year-old man, a gas fitter who is believed to have examined the boiler at Mr Partington's home days before the explosion, remains on police bail pending further inquiries.