Unemployed father of six, 27, admits cutting gas pipes in his home which killed two-year-old boy in massive explosion
Andrew Partington cut pipes in his terrace house and let it fill up with gas overnightJamie Heaton, two, was watching TV next door while he mother did housework when he was killed by the blastThe devastating explosion caused 1m of damage to houses in the areaPartington suffered 40 per cent burns and was left in a comaHe appeared at court today via video link from jail
21:31 GMT, 28 November 2012
An unemployed father of six today admitted to killing a two-year-old boy after causing a massive explosion when he cut the gas pipes in his house.
Andrew Partington, 27, today appeared at Manchester Crown Court over the manslaughter of neighbour Jamie Heaton, who
was watching TV at his home next door in Shaw, Oldham.
Partington, who suffered 40 per cent burns
and a broken back in the explosion, allowed his house to fill with gas overnight.
Guilty: Andrew Partington, left, admitted to the manslaughter of two-year-old Jamie Heaton, right, and causing 1million of criminal damage over the blast in a
house in Oldham
Wreckage: The blast was so powerful it flattened three houses on Buckley Street in the Shaw area of Oldham, Greater Manchester
Tragedy: Michelle and Kenny Heaton wiped away tears at Manchester Crown Court today as Partington pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of their son
The explosion at around 11.15am 'obliterated'
Partington’s rented terrace home and two neighbouring properties, and caused
devastation in the surrounding streets.
Shocked neighbours who had fled their collapsing homes searched the wreckage, finding the youngster’s body in the debris.
Residents had reported smelling gas 40 minutes earlier. The fatal blast erupted just as engineers from the National Grid were arriving in the street, leaving it looking like a 'war zone'.
Jamie, described by
his family as a 'happy, loving little boy', had been watching children’s
TV in the lounge while his mother Michelle
did housework and his father Kenny was out at work.
Carnage: Debris from the massive explosion sent bits of masonry flying over the surrounding area in Oldham
Rubble: The massive blast turned three houses instantly into rubble
Fire and police investigators survey the scene of the explosion where four houses once stood
The massive explosion flattened number 11 Buckley Street, where Jamie lived, and number 9, where Mr Partington lived. The two houses are separated by an alleyway.
A number of houses caught in the blast zone will have to be demolished
It was only by a slim chance that Mrs Heaton was not in the house when the blast tore through their home. She had just slipped into the back garden to hang out the washing.
Officers on the case at the time
investigated reports Partington had rowed with his girlfriend Tanya
Williamson the previous evening, just hours before the tragedy happened.
Partington, who recently came out of a
coma following the gas blast, appeared at Manchester Crown Court by
videolink from jail today.
He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and
eight charges of destroying neighbouring houses, causing more than 1million-worth of damage, on June 26.
Distraught: Jamie's tearful parents grieve over tributes to their two-year-old son
Grief: Mr and Mrs Heaton visit the scene of the blast to pay tribute to their son
The boy’s parents, Mr and Mrs Heaton, sat in the public gallery holding hands for the brief hearing.
They were flanked by police officers
and relatives, who wiped away tears as the defendant
admitted his guilt.
Beyond that, Partington spoke only to confirm his name and that he could hear proceedings from HMP Forest Bank in Salford.
Partington, who wore a white T-shirt covered by a light blue bib, kept his head down for most of the hearing.
The defendant answered 'guilty' to each charge, the single count
of manslaughter and eight charges of destroying property.
Injuries: Partington, pictured with his partner Tanya Williams, suffered 40 per cent burns and broke his back
Tragic: Jamie was killed instantly in the blast in June this year, while watching TV as his mother did housework
Adam Roxborough, defending, added that
Partington was still suffering physical difficulties in his movement
from injuries sustained in the explosion.
Remanding Partington into custody,
Judge Andrew Gilbart told him: 'There is only one possible sentence in this
case, a custodial sentence.
'It is likely to be determined by the High Court judge who deals with it on February 11.'
Judge Gilbart also ordered a psychological assessment of Partington before he is sentenced, to assess his dangerousness.
Partington replied: 'Thanks very much your Lordship.'