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Maria's story

Maria's story warns against illegal gas work

Maria and her two siblings tragically lost their parents in 2009 to carbon monoxide poisoning. Donald O’Sullivan, 73, and his wife, Rosetta, 70 died in each other’s arms at their home in Matlock Road, Leyton, on 21 April 2009.

The couple employed their next door neighbour, Mohammed Jamil, to carry out some building work in their home, which included raising the height of their garage roof. Mr Jamil did not take into consideration that this work impacted on the safety of the gas appliances within the property. As a result, Mr Jamil dangerously enclosed the flue part of the boiler and deadly fumes were entering the couple’s property.

Maria’s mum had been unwell in the weeks before she died. She had started suffering from severe headaches and had even been referred by her doctor to have a brain scan, but the results came back clear. None of the family considered that Rosetta’s illness could be symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Within a couple of weeks after the work was carried out, the couple were found dead.

Maria said:

“I don’t know how I feel towards Mr Jamil. He was my parents neighbour so we have known him and his family for years. I haven’t seen him since and I wouldn’t know what to say to him if I did.”

On the 20 July 2012, Mohammed Jamil, of Grove Green Road, Leyton, pleaded guilty of breaching Regulation 8(1) of the Gas Safety (Installation & Use) Regulations 1998 for his failings in relation to the deaths. In addition to the £75,000 fine, he was ordered to pay £25,452 in costs and handed a 12 month community order requiring him to undertake 150 hours of community service.

If you’re carrying out home improvement, no matter how big or small, find out if it will involve gas work or impact on your existing gas appliances.

Make sure you know how to stay safe when subcontracting home improvements.