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 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:
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:
The moment a gas fitter found his partner and her daughter dead on their boat in the Lake District after succumbing to the effects of carbon monoxide, has been described in court.
Matthew Eteson, 42, is on trial after pleading not guilty to the manslaughter of Kelly Webster, 36, and her daughter Lauren Thornton, 10, by gross negligence.
Jurors were told that Eteson had fabricated an exhaust system for the petrol-driven portable generator used to power the mains appliances on the boat, moored on Lake Windermere, Cumbria.
The two were found in their bedrooms on the second-hand Bayliner 285 motor cruiser Arniston, after the outdoor generator was taken below deck despite carbon monoxide sensors being disabled.
Eteson, who had fallen asleep, said he woke feeling "something was not right" before stumbling down the stairs of boat.
In a statement read to Preston Crown Court he said:
Preston Crown Court heard that the family had been at a 50th birthday party in March 2013, before returning to their boat.
The following morning Eteson said he had felt sick and went to buy the family lunch from the chip shop before returning.
He said that Kelly had told him "I'm freezing" and the fan heater was put on at half power.
The court was told that Eteson, of Appleton Road, Hale, Cheshire, had fabricated the exhaust system with a silencer because it was "noisy" for fellow neighbours and had fitted it into the engine compartment.
Jurors were told that the generator was running as they ate their lunch before Eteson fell asleep at the table below deck.
Speaking about the generator during a police interview under caution he said:
But jurors heard that when he awoke he "couldn't move" and initially believed he was having reoccurring problems with his heart.
He made his way onto the deck and said he proceeded to bang and shout for help but believed that Kelly and her daughter had gone shopping.
He said he could not remember if he turned the generator off then or later.
In the police statement he said:
He said upon finding their bodies he tried looking for his phone before dialling 999. As the evidence was read a member of the public ran out of the courtroom sobbing.
Eteson too began to cry before being comforted by his father who has been allowed to sit beside him during proceedings.
The court was told that the carbon monoxide alarms on the boat had never been tested. During his voluntary interview in April 2013 he said he had been aware of the dangers of fumes.
He added that he had sought advice from mechanical friends and said the construction "wasn't something I took lightly".
The court was told that he had taken the generator off the boat to make moderations to it by fitting it with a silencer. He fitted the system the day before the deaths.
The case continues.
A court has heard that a registered gas fitter, who brought an outdoor generator below the deck of his boat despite knowing that carbon monoxide sensors were disabled, awoke to find his partner and her 10-year-old daughter dead.
42 year old Matthew Eteson pleaded not guilty to manslaughter by gross negligence after jurors were told that he had fabricated an exhaust system for the portable generator used to power the mains appliances on the boat, moored on Lake Windermere, Cumbria.
His partner Kelly Webster, 36, and her daughter Lauren Thornton were found in their sleeping area on the boat with fatal levels of carbon monoxide in their bodies.
He denies the charge.
Preston Crown Court was told that Eteson, of Appleton Road, Cheshire, who was "an experienced boat owner", had installed the exhaust system with a silencer because it was "noisy".
But the court was told that it had been of "poor design" and the materials he had used were unsuitable causing the system release the gases.
The family had gone to the Lake District for the Easter bank holiday, however on the afternoon of April 1st 2013 Eteson removed the generator from the deck and used it to power a heater in one of the boat's bedrooms.
The court was told that there had been no warning to the build-up of the gas because the carbon monoxide sensors had previously been disabled.
For the prosecution Mr Graham Reeds QC said that the mother and daughter were found dead in the positions in which they had slept. Eteson had been sleeping in a separate compartment further away from the generator but also suffered the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
It is not alleged that he intended any harm to come to either victim.
Mr Reeds said from Eteson's training as a Gas Safe installer, he was "well aware" of the risks to human life through exposure to carbon monoxide.
The prosecution said it was their case that Eteson was "criminally responsible" for their deaths.
Mr Reeds added:
Mr Eteson denies the charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.
The case continues.
A family camping in Dumfries and Galloway were hospitalised earlier today after they became unwell due to carbon monoxide fumes.
Two adults and two children are believed to have fallen ill as a result of breathing in the gas from a barbecue that they had brought into their tent at a site in Parton.
Firefighters have appealed for the public to recognise the danger posed by carbon monoxide. Each year, around 40 people die in the UK from carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms include tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, chest pains and nausea.