Oldham man jailed for ten years after gas blast kills two-year-old neighbour

Jamie Heaton, aged two, who died in an explosion in Oldham.
Jamie Heaton, aged two, who died in an explosion in Oldham. Photo: Ron Lamb/Cavendish Press/PA Wire

A man who blew up his house in a massive gas blast that killed his two-year-old next-door neighbour was jailed for ten years today.

The explosion obliterated the rented home of Andrew Partington and neighbouring terrace houses in Shaw, Oldham, last June.

The body of toddler Jamie Heaton was found in the wreckage.

Partington, 28, pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court in November to manslaughter and eight charges of destroying houses in the blast in Buckley Street on June 26.

ITV News' Martin Geissler reports:

Jamie had been watching television in the lounge while his mother was doing housework and his father was out at work.

He lived at 11 Buckley Street with his parents Kenny and Michelle, next door to Partington at number 9 and his partner, Tania Williams, and their children.

Partington and Ms Williams had a stormy relationship, according to locals, with police being called to one bust-up.

Neighbours said there was another row the night before the blast and Partington had been drinking.

Andrew Partington.
Andrew Partington. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

The next day, at around 11.20am, the gas ignited.

Partington survived and was rescued by the emergency services.

He spent weeks in hospital and still suffers from injuries sustained in the blast.

The cost of damage to the houses and surrounding streets has been estimated at around £1.2 million.

The judge accepted it appeared that Partington had a change of heart in blowing up the house when he woke up the next day but said lighting a cigarette was "highly reckless".

"You were aware of the risk but you chose unreasonably to take that risk," said the judge.

The resulting scene of the devastation resembled a bomb site and in some senses it was. It was in effect a bomb that you created and detonated.

As a result of your reckless actions you have caused the death of Jamie. You have taken away his life and a large part of his parents and siblings' lives.

– Mr Justice Hamblen

Michelle and Kenny Heaton, the parents of two-year-old Jamie Heaton, said Andrew Partington's action of "selfishness" had "destroyed" their lives.

Visit www.jamiessomethingspecial.co.uk to find out about Michelle and Kenny Heaton's charity work in their son's memory.