Police Constable: Finding toddler dead 'still haunts me'

The first police officer to attend the scene where two-year-old toddler Jamie Heaton died in a gas explosion has described the incident as "absolute devastation".

I, along with a number of colleagues, was first to arrive following the gas blast.

The scene that greeted us was one of absolute devastation and we quickly identified Jamie’s mum, Michelle, who was shell shocked and in a state of panic.

As soon as we learnt that Jamie was inside we went in, through the rubble, to look for him.

As a police officer it is second nature for me to act instinctively. It is something that I did on this occasion. I was not thinking about anything other than Jamie.

Tragically I found him dead inside and this is something that still haunts me. Despite our best efforts we could not free him from the rubble at that time and I just wish the outcome had been different for him and his family.

I hope they have found some comfort now Andrew Partington has been sentenced and my thoughts and sympathies remain with them.

– Police Constable Paul Darlington

Read: More on the Oldham man who has been jailed for ten years after a gas blast killed his two-year-old neighbour.

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Man jailed for fatal gas blast

Andrew Partington, who blew up his house in a massive gas blast that killed his two-year-old next-door neighbour Jamie Heaton, was jailed for ten years at Manchester Crown Court.