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Fireworks inquest witness heard ten bangs 'and then all hell broke loose'

Witness, John Simpson, owns the property and grounds where two bodies were found near firework storage at his home wedding reception.

John Simpson said he'd asked his partner of small hobby business, Stardust Fireworks, to prepare a low noise display for the end of his wedding.

Shortly after walking past the fireworks store with his photographer, around 10 fireworks 'pinged' off followed by a loud bang and then he said "all hell broke loose".

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The inquest continues.


Big turnout for Windermere Jingle Jog

More than 100 joggers have been taking part in the Windermere Jingle Jog.

The new event sees people dressed in festive clothing running, jogging and walking on the shores of Windermere.

The run started at Cockshott Point in Bowness-on-Windermere and raised about £1,000 for local charities.

"Let's paint the town red, green and white and kick off the festive season by getting the whole family dressed up as Santa's, Elves, Reindeer, Christmas Puddings, Snowmen, Fairies - or anything Christmassy - and Walk, Jog or Run around a flat and scenic course in Bowness on Windermere!

"It's the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit and a fun event for all the family to enjoy, and to raise money for worthwhile local charities."

– l Lion Chris Burstow, Event Organiser

Windermere improvement works to begin next year

Windermere. Credit: ITV Border

Work on a £300,000 scheme to improve the waterfront at Windermere is expected to begin early next year.

Councillors have approved a contract to carry out the improvements.

The plan is to widen the promenade at Waterhead, on the lake's northern shore, as well as resurfacing walkways, repairing walls and installing a ‘panorama’ board, to identify key Lakeland landmarks that can be seen from the shore.

The aim is for the work to be finished by Easter 2016, to minimise disruption to the tourism industry at one of its busiest times.

We are investing £280,000 and Lakes Parish Council is putting in at least £20,000 to make this a reality.

These plans have been shaped following steering group meetings and in partnership with key stakeholders, including the parish council, civic society, Cumbria Tourism, Lake District National Park, the two local district councillors and all the respondents to the consultation.

It is an excellent example of true partnership working and has resulted in a scheme that greatly improve a popular and much-loved Lake District location.’’

– Councillor Giles Archibald


Family 'extremely disappointed' after gas fitter spared jail

Kelly Webster and her daughter Lauren Thornton Credit: ITV Border

The family of a 36-year-old woman, and her ten-year-old daughter, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning, say they are "extremely disappointed" after a gas fitter was found criminally responsible for their deaths, but spared a prison sentence.

Kelly Webster, 36, and Lauren Thornton, 10, were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes after Mr Eteson, Kelly's partner, fitted a dodgy generator on board his boat.

In a statement released by Cumbria Police, the family said Mr Eteson "has never apologised nor shown any kind of remorse":

The family are extremely disappointed with the sentencing imposed in this case. It is completely disproportionate given that two lives have been lost. We have lived with the unbearable loss of Kelly and Lauren for over two and a half years. Eteson has never apologised nor shown any kind of remorse.

The family and friends request privacy at this difficult time.”

– Family statement

Boat death case 'should act as a warning'

The Crown Prosecution Service says the sentencing of a gas fitter, whose poor work led to the deaths of his partner and her daughter, should serve as a warning.

Matthew Eteson avoided a jail term, and had his two-year sentence suspended:

As a registered gas fitter, Matthew Eteston knew the dangers of carbon monoxide and knew the risk of death if the pipework designed to evacuate the exhaust gases failed. Tragically, the poor design and construction of the work he carried out on the exhaust system directly led to the deaths of Kelly Webster and Lauren Thornton.

This case should act as a warning about the terrible consequences of such a poor standard of work in the installation of appliances. Although Matthew Eteson did not intend to cause their deaths, the jury, who heard all the evidence, found that Kelly and Lauren lost their lives because of his gross negligence, and the obvious dangers that he created. They therefore found him criminally responsible for their deaths.

Our thoughts and sympathies are with Kelly and Lauren’s families and friends at this time, who have been left devastated by their deaths.”

– Joanna White, Senior Crown Prosecutor from CPS

Windermere Carbon Monoxide deaths: Gas fitter found GUILTY of manslaughter

Kelly Webster and her daughter Lauren Thornton Credit: ITV Border

A gas fitter has been found guilty of causing the deaths of his partner and her 10-year-old daughter on board a boat on Lake Windermere.

Kelly Webster, 36, and Lauren Thornton, 10, were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes after Kelly’s partner, Matthew Eteson fitted a dodgy generator on board his boat.

The boat, Arniston, was harboured on Lake Windermere at the time of the tragedy.

Prior to the tragedy on Easter Monday 2013, Eteson - a qualified Gas Safe engineer - had fitted a silencer to the generator, joining copper piping to steel using solder and jubilee clips.

He then brought the generator below deck to power a fan heater to warm the cabin where Kelly and Lauren slept.

On the afternoon of April 1, Eteson, of Appleton Road, Hale, woke feeling unwell as Kelly and Lauren napped blow deck.

He told police he thought he was having heart problems and made his way above deck to get some fresh air.

But minutes later he returned to find Kelly and Lauren, of Leyland, Lancs, had been overcome by fumes from the petrol powered generator.

Eteson, who throughout the trial sat outside the dock, supported by his father, denied criminal negligence manslaughter.

He did not give evidence as the court heard he is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder after discovering Kelly and Lauren’s bodies.

However the jury at Preston Crown Court unanimously found him guilty of their manslaughter as he ought to have known the modifications he made to the generator were not suitable and that it was unsafe to bring an outdoor generator indoors.

As the guilty verdicts were returned members of the Webster and Thornton families sobbed and comforted each other in the public gallery.

Eteson and his father looked down.

High court judge Mr Justice Turner adjourned the sentence hearing until November 13 to allow pre-sentence and psychiatric reports to be prepared.

In a prepared statement on behalf of both families, Lauren’s dad Neil Thornton said:

Throughout this trial it has become clear to the families of both Kelly and Lauren that the modifications carried out by Matthew Eteson directly contributed to their premature deaths.

His conscious decision to install an improvised exhaust system on a generator within a confined space was doomed to fail and ultimately led to Kelly and Lauren losing their lives.

This should serve as a warning to others of the dangers of do-it-yourself work and a failure to properly risk assess the work and to the potential consequences of death by carbon monoxide poisoning.

The families of both Kelly and Lauren would like to thank their family and friends for their love and support throughout this difficult time.

– Neil Thornton
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