Lancashire man jailed for causing death of two-year-old
A 45-year-old man has been sentenced today for manslaughter, following the tragic death of two-year-old George Hinds.
Darren Greenham of Mallowdale Avenue, Heysham, admitted causing the gas explosion in his home on 16 May 2021, which caused the death of the two-year-old, who lived next door.
The explosion occurred at 02.36am on Sunday 16 May. George Hinds, who had been asleep in his bedroom in the house next door was sadly killed as a result of the explosion. His parents were also injured in the blast and it took two hours to release George’s mother from the rubble that had been their home.
A post-mortem confirmed that George’s death was due to the blast effects of the explosion.
A gas investigator from the health and safety executive carried out an extensive investigation into the gas explosion and confirmed that a main 22mm pipe under the floorboard at the top of the stairs had been deliberately cut inside 20 Mallowdale Avenue and this had caused the explosion between 20 and 42 minutes after the gas began to escape. Other pipes had also been cut.
It was also confirmed that there would have been an instant smell of gas and an audible noise from the gas escaping.
Despite denials in interview and again at court, Greenham later accepted that he had cut the copper pipes in his property, intending to sell them for scrap. In his basis of plea, he said that he believed the gas had been turned off by another male who is now deceased.
He also accepted being under the influence of drink and drugs when he cut the pipes.
The court heard that this offence was set against a backdrop of anti-social behaviour towards his neighbours. One neighbour described Greenham as an “accident waiting to happen.”
Greenham was sentenced at Preston Court on 5 October 2022 to 15 years in prison for the Manslaughter of George Hinds. He was also given one month concurrent for theft of gas and damage to a gas meter.
Joanna White, Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS North West said: “This was a tragic case where a young boy lost his life through the reckless and dangerous actions of Darren Greenham, who cut the pipes for financial gain.
“The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) worked hard with Lancashire police to build a strong case including eyewitness testimony, forensic evidence linking Greenham to the grinder and copper pipe in the property and CCTV evidence showing the explosion and the movements of the occupants of 20 Mallowdale Avenue. Having considered the weight of evidence against him, Greenham pleaded guilty in August 2022.
“Nothing can ever make up for the loss of George in such tragic circumstances, my thoughts are very much with his family, who have carried themselves throughout the distressing proceedings in a dignified and exemplary manner and who I hope can find some comfort in knowing Greenham has been brought to justice.”
Notes to editors
- Darren Greenham: Date of Birth 21/04/1977